The COVID-19 resilience of a continental welfare regime - nowcasting the distributional impact of the crisis

Denisa M. Sologon, Cathal O'Donoghue, Iryna Kyzyma, Jinjing Li, Jules Linden, Raymond Wagener

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Abstract

We evaluate the COVID-19 resilience of a Continental welfare regime by nowcasting the implications of the shock and its associated policy responses on the distribution of household incomes over the whole of 2020. Our approach relies on a dynamic microsimulation modelling that combines a household income generation model estimated on the latest EU-SILC wave with novel nowcasting techniques to calibrate the simulations using external macro controls which reflect the macroeconomic climate during the crisis. We focus on Luxembourg, a country that introduced minor tweaks to the existing tax-benefit system, which has a strong social insurance focus that gave certainty during the crisis. We find the system was well-equipped ahead of the crisis to cushion household incomes against job losses. The income-support policy changes were effective in cushioning household incomes and mitigating an increase in income inequality, allowing average household disposable income and inequality levels to bounce back to pre-crisis levels in the last quarter of 2020. The share of labour incomes dropped, but was compensated by an increase in benefits, reflecting the cushioning effect of the transfer system. Overall market incomes dropped and became more unequal. Their disequalizing evolution was matched by an increase in redistribution, driven by an increase in the generosity of benefits and larger access to benefits. The nowcasting model is a “near” real-time analysis and decision support tool to monitor the recovery, scalable to other countries with high applicability for policymakers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-33
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of Economic Inequality
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Feb 2022

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