COVID-19 response

Updated: September 2021

How PEP is responding to COVID-19 as an international organisation, and resources to help inform policy responses.


The Partnership for Economic Policy (PEP) is monitoring the developments of COVID-19 globally and following governmental guidance according to where our staff and grant recipients are based. 

The health and wellbeing of PEP researchers, resource persons, and staff are our priority. We have suspended all international travel for staff, resource persons and researchers. Nevertheless, PEP research work and operations are continuing while adapting to local situations and restrictions. We thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate this situation together.

PEP Action  |  Publications by PEP-affiliated researchers  | Other information sources


Mobilizing new, rapid response, projects

As governments around the world react to the Covid-19 crisis, high-quality evidence is needed to understand its evolving health, economic and social effects and how mitigation policies can be most effective.

Developing country populations – and especially those most vulnerable – are at risk of being left behind. Resources are limited and must be put to work efficiently to address the short, medium and long-term challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

PEP has mobilized our network of in-country researchers for 18 quick-response research projects:

  • PEP is supporting 11 projects to inform inclusive adaptation and recovery policies responding to the crisis in as many developing countries under the COVID-19 Responses for Equity (CORE) initiative, funded by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC).
    • The projects are being undertaken in seven African countries (Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe), two Asian countries (Pakistan and Vietnam) and two South American countries (Argentina and Ecuador).
    • PEP is working with teams involving local researchers and government institutions to assess COVID-19 impacts and the effectiveness of current and potential policies.
  • PEP is supporting a further seven projects under an initiative providing a Rapid Response to the COVID-19 PandemicPEP Resource Persons and Research Fellows are investigating topics related to COVID-19 policy responses in different countries. All projects have now pubished working papers.

Additionally, a new UNICEF research initiative, undertaken by PEP and Oxford Policy Management, has generated evidence from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) showing that children may pay the highest price for the effects of the Covid-19 crisis. 

Adapting ongoing projects

Six experimental projects were about to implement their interventions when the pandemic began. These projects were selected for PEP support under the Impact Evaluation Mentoring for Governments in East and West Africa initiative mid-2019, and completed baseline data collection between late 2019 and early 2020. The pandemic response and mitigation measures put in place by national governments delayed the roll out of four interventions. With the help of the PEP-PIERI Scientific Support Team, the teams worked hard to adapt to local challenges while prioritizing the safety of everyone involved.

Modifications to the projects included:

  • Redesigning the interventions in Guinea Bissau and Benin
  • Conducting meetings, interviews and surveys by telephone or online, instead of in person
  • Restructuring focus groups as individual interviews
  • Delaying the intervention in Tanzania until 2021

Sharing knowledge

Knowledge exchange, across countries, regions and disciplines, is also vital for meeting the challenges of the pandemic as efficiently as possible.

PEP launched a Facebook group as a place to discuss socio-economic evidence that may be useful for designing and informing COVID-19 response policies at global and national levels. Join the discussion at You can also tweet using the hashtag #covid19policyresponse and share via the LinkedIn group.

PEP is a founding member of the Global Coalition to End Child Poverty, which has a dedicated page on COVID-19 with links to various other initiatives.

Publications by PEP-affiliated researchers 

Including current researchers, alumni, Research FellowsResource Persons and members of the Board of Directors

COVID-19-related Publications by PEP-affiliated Researchers Organised by Theme (Google Spreadsheet)

Macro, micro and welfare impacts of COVID-19

Economic and Distributional Impact of COVID‐19: Evidence from Macro‐Micro Modelling of the South African Economy by Margaret Chitiga, Martin HenselerRamos Mabugu and Hélène Maisonnave (South African Journal of Economics, 26 November 2020)

COVID-19 and Beyond: Minimizing the Costs of Pandemics by Nisha Arunatilake (State of Economy Report)

The Pandemic and Economic Fallout in South Asia by Selim Raihan, Ganeshan Wignaraja, Vaqar Ahmed, Puspa Sharma, Nazir Kabiri, Prabir De (EPW, Vol. 55, Issue No. 46, 21 Nov, 2020)

Economic impacts for Pakistan of the coronavirus second wave by Vaqar Ahmed (Arab News, December 7, 2020)

Social and Economic Impact of COVID-19 and Policy Options in Argentina by PEP Research Director Maria Laura Alzua and Paula Gosis (UNDP LAC Covid-19 Policy Document)

COVID-19 & Preventive Strategies

COVID-19 risk perceptions, preventive behaviour and COVID-fatigue during a lull in the epidemic in South Africa by Brendan Maughan, Tim Köhler, Ronelle Burger, Laura Rossouw, Carmen Christian, René English (Report based on NIDS Survey)

Weathering Disasters: Why it Pays to be Prepared by Nisha Arunatilake (blog post for Talking Economics, October 5, 2020)

Children & Covid-19

Learning at home: Distance learning solutions and child development during the COVID-19 lockdown by Francesca Marchetta (COVID Economics, Issue 68, 10 February 2021)

The social and economic effects of COVID-19 on children in North Macedonia by Marjan Petreski, Blagica Petreski, Ana Tomovska, Maja Gerovska, Maja Parnardzieva, Vladimir Dimkovski, Nicholas Morgan (USAID, Finance Think, UNICEF study)

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on poverty in MENA countries: Focus on child poverty by Guy Morel Kossivi Amouzou Agbe (UNICEF literature review)

Impact des mesures de confinement associées à la pandémie COVID-19 sur la pauvreté des enfants (PDF, in French) - UNICEF report based on research carried out by  Abdel-Rahmen El LahgaSami Bibi, Sebastian Silva Leander and Marta Marzi.

Maroc : Impact de la pandémie Covid-19 sur la pauvreté des enfants (PDF, in French) - UNICEF report by Touahmi Abdelkhalek, Dorothée Boccanfuso and Luc Savard

Trade sector amid COVID-19

COVID-19 & Poverty

COVID-19 Pandemic, a War to be Won: Understanding its Economic Implications for Africa

Other information sources

COVID-19 platform (currently supported by IPC-IG (host), GiZ and Dfat) with links to various other initiatives

The World Bank

Platform and blog, with links to various other initiatives


Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists: Economics in the Time of COVID-19


OECD web page on impacts, consequences and policy responses to COVID-19

Free books by leading economists


We invite suggestions for other resources/readings, please email our Communications Officer


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