Andrea Brandolini

The COVID-19 pandemic and economic inequality in Italy

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The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unexpected and exceptional shock. The assessment of its distributional effects must take into account the variable macroeconomic dynamics in the period 2020-21. Initially, the crisis reproduced pre-existing inequalities, affecting those who had precarious jobs, mostly women, young people and foreigners, but it also hit many self-employed in traditional activities; in the subsequent economic recovery, the trends were reverted. The recession has likely generated a profound reshuffling of relative positions in the income scale, but overall the degree of economic inequality has changed little over the two-year period, mainly thanks to massive public spending. Absolute poverty, however, grew above the even high levels prior to the pandemic.


  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • inequality
  • poverty
  • public spending
  • Italy


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