Ethan Ilzetzki's picture
Affiliation: 
London School of Economics

Voting history

The Economic Cost of School Closures

Question 3: To what extent will school closures increase gender inequality due to unequal gender distribution of the burden of school closures?

Answer:
To a small degree but persistently
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
The burden of school closures has fallen very unequally along gender lines. This will clearly cause an increase in gender inequality on the margin and this damage may be permanent without mitigating policy measures. It is hard to assess the magnitude of this damage with current data. My hunch is that the social forces pushing for greater gender inequality will contain the damages, but larger damages are possible depending on the duration of the pandemic.

Question 2: To what extent will school closures increase inequality in human capital development?

Answer:
By a large amount and persistently
Confidence level:
Not confident
Comment:
Schools have been closed for roughly one third of a year. Evidence from summer holidays is clear that closures cause a lot of forgetting, so that the damage to less advantaged pupils without home schooling resources is already roughly equivalent to one year of lost school. This contrasts with higher income pupils in private education, who received numerous hours of online lessons during this time. It is very likely that schools will be closed again in the fall. The government has made a conscious decision that opening (and subsidising!) pubs and restaurants is more important than children's education. These hasty policies risk a second wave that will likely lead to further school closures. The damage to the education of low-income children is irreparable.

Question 1:What damage will school closures have on economic growth over a 10-15 year horizon?

Answer:
Minor
Confidence level:
Not confident
Comment:
While school closures have certainly been damaging to pupils education, and HMG has done very little to mitigate this damage, it is very difficult to estimate the costs to economic growth.

Will COVID-19 Cause Permanent Damage to the UK Economy?

Question 2: Which aspect of the economy poses the greatest risk for a slow recovery?

Answer:
Firms’ productive capacity (e.g. business failures)
Confidence level:
Not confident at all

Question 1: How quickly will the economy rebound (e.g. to the pre-pandemic trend) once the COVID-19 pandemic has been contained and absent major policy interventions? 

Answer:
The economy will recover within a small number (1-5) of years
Confidence level:
Not confident
Comment:
This depends very much on how long the pandemic will last. If a vacine or very effective treatments were found this year (unlikely), the economy could return to the pre-crisis growth trend very quickly. However, I expect the pandemic, and its economic damage will be with us for at least a year, at which point there will be scarring effects to both the demand and supply side of the economy.

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