Francesca Monti's picture
Affiliation: 
Kings College London

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:
Very confident
Comment:
The burden of school closures is certain to affect women disproportionately. Women are often the main carers of children and will probably already have done choices that put them in the position of being the element in the household who can absorb the additional caring responsibilities. The effect of further disengagement from the labour force is sure to affect their career prospects permanently. On the other hand, the pandemic has normalised teleworking, and this could, in the medium run, have positive effects on the sharing of caring responsibilities.

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

Answer:
To a small degree but persistently
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
The effects of school closures will presumably be felt disproportionately more by children of lower socio-economic background: their schools have offered less online teaching, they have been less able to take advantage of such offering, when it was available, because of constraints on the technology needed (e.g. unavailability of devices or internet in the household), their parents might have had less time and/or knowledge to support them in their learning. Even if the effects on each child's educational attainment are small, the differences across students will be exacerbated and, I believe, these differences will be persistent.

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

Answer:
Moderate
Confidence level:
Not confident
Comment:
School closures affect economic growth in two main ways: by reducing children's educational attainment (disproportionately for lower income households) and by affecting persistently the carrier prospects of the main carers of children (generally women). The mapping from little fluctuations in standardised tests scores into aggregate economic outcomes is not that obvious however. The effect coming from the disruption of the carriers of the main carers seems to me to be more clear cut.

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
Comment:
All of the effect indicated above pose a risk in terms of the speed of the economic recovery, but possibly at different horizons. Presumably the effects of growth from a reduction of productive capacity, for example, would be felt especially at shorter horizons, while the effect on human capital would have a more persistent dampening effect.

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 rapidly return to its pre-crisis growth trend, but there will be a permanent effect on the level of GDP
Confidence level:
Not confident
Comment:
I believe the most likely scenario is that there is a return to pre-trend growth, once a vaccine has been found and assuming that stimulative policies continue to support the economy. I do think however that there is a lot of uncertainty around this forecast. In particular, there are also quite big risks that the pandemic has permanent (or at least very persistent) effects on long-term growth, due to 1) scarring of beliefs, which could change the behaviour of the actors in the economy very persistently and 2) changing working styles (and the subsequently reduced need to be in cities), which could affect negatively big cities like London in particular.

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