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Population and Economics: What Comes After COVID-19?

At this alarming time, when the COVID-19 pandemic is on everyone’s mind, a new special issue in the open-access peer-reviewed journal Population and Economics by Lomonosov Moscow State University (Faculty of Economics) provides a platform for discussion on the impact of the pandemic on the population and economics, both in Russia and worldwide by opening a special issue. An introductory overview for the issue is provided by its Editor-in-Chief, Irina E. Kalabikhina of the Faculty of Economics at Lomonosov Moscow State University.

Today is still too early to draw any final conclusions, with too many things yet to happen. Nevertheless, the time is right to start a discussion on how to soften the possible consequences of the pandemic.

In the first published papers, united by the special issue, various teams of economists assess the uneasy dilemma — saving lives now or saving the economy to preserve lives in the future; demographers draw parallels with previous pandemics and its impact on demographic development; and sociologists analyse the state of various strata throughout the crisis.

The coronavirus pandemic came to Russia in mid-March — two months after China, two weeks after Spain, Italy, France, and about the same time as the United States.

As of April 24th, according to the data available at the Center for System Science and Engineering at John Hopkins University, Russia is amongst the top 10 countries by number of recorded cases. International comparability of national data on COVID-19 is a separate issue; it will be addressed in one of the special issue articles.

“Now I just want to state that Russia is affected by the pandemic, and it disturbs population and society. Moreover, a number of anti-epidemic measures taken in the country can bite the economy. In this context, the search for specific Russian consequences of the pandemic initiated by our authors along with the global consequences is particularly interesting,” shares Editor-in-Chief of Population and Economics, Prof. Irina E. Kalabikhina.

All economists, demographers and sociologists are invited to consider the impact of the pandemic and its attendant recession on the population and economy in Russia and the global world. Research papers are welcome to the special issue, which will remain open for submissions until the end of June 2020.

What could the pandemic cost to globalization, what could be the consequences of the crisis? In his paper, Dean of the Faculty of Economics of Lomonosov Moscow State University, Prof. Alexander Auzan calls to take it as a chance to change the path dependency and proposes a tax system revision. He also suggests that the reform is to be made by the law enforcement agencies.

The possible consequences of the crisis, including a technological shift and a change in the direction and volumes of trade flows, are discussed in the paper by Dr. Oleg Buklemishev from Lomonosov Moscow State University. He also examines the likelihood of the role of the State to strengthen in line with the expected deglobalization in the face of epidemiological uncertainty.

Meanwhile, the pandemic remains “a global social drama” for the global society, as the world faces a step back to the basic needs as outlined in the Maslow pyramid. Income and wealth inequality appears to be increasing in the future, and when it all ends — we will have no choice but to establish the International Victory Day over Coronavirus, suggested in his paper Prof. Leonid Grigoryev of the Higher School of Economics (Moscow).

Every second Russian worker can be considered as a vulnerable employee, suggests the latest analysis by researchers from the Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA). The highest risks are faced by young people, workers with a low level of education and the residents of the regional centers in Russia.

The most important directions of the current COVID-related crisis research are determined in Prof. Andrey Shastitko’s (Lomonosov Moscow State University and Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration) research. He addresses such questions as how to collect, process and report information on the pandemic relevant with regards to the phenomenon of individual cognitive errors, as well as how this information is perceived by the mass consumer and the voter. Current situation can be considered as force majeure, but life does not stop because of force majeure, which requires micro- and meso-institutions also to find the options for a way out.

Another paper by Dr. Alexander Kurdin (Lomonosov Moscow State University and Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration) reveals that the pandemic has provoked the development of “intermediate” regulatory solutions in Russia and has led to the formation of a short-term “institutional continuum,” which assumes the possibility of new combinations of norms. At the same time, there is some institutional uncertainty, which stems not only from the lack of legal rules that meet the new “hybrid” regimes, but also from the lack of accompanying informal rules, which often determine human behavior. However, it is possible that extraordinary circumstances may also increase the flexibility of informal rules.

Still, one of the most vulnerable social groups in the current crisis remain migrants and refugees, who are facing economic, socio-psychological and political challenges, as described in the paper by Dr. Irina Ivakhnyuk (Global Migration Policy Associates).

Within the circumstances of the pandemic, there are many messages across the media about its positive effect on the environment. Though, Prof. Sergey Bobylev (Lomonosov Moscow State University) shares in his research, that despite the short-term reduction in the environmental impact, over the upcoming years we can expect weakened attention from the state, business and the population to environmental issues, a decrease in environmentally oriented costs, redirection of cash flows to maintain or prevent a significant drop in the material standard of living.

Other papers still remain in the press, but we already can get some insights into the future works.

The last pandemics can teach us valuable lessons, point out Dr. Natalia Gavrilova and Dr. Leonid Gavrilov (University of Chicago, Federal Research Institute for Health Organization and Informatics of Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, Institute of Socio-Political Research at the Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Science), who use the Spanish flu of 1918 with its peculiarities regarding mortality as an example.

Another lesson we could learn is the one from the more recent outbreak of Ebola and the following crisis in Sierra Leone, suggests Dr. Ana Androsik (the New School for Social Research, New York and Feminist Data and Research Inc.) in her research paper. Back then, the population also had to assume extra caretaking responsibilities, while the imposed by the government restrictions negatively made it harder for the people to earn their incomes, which, in turn, hit the travel and local market industries. According to Dr. Androsik, we should use this type of evidence, taken from previous public health crises, to learn the mistakes of the past and design the most efficient program interventions.

Russian families also face new issues in the conditions of self-isolation, while “dachas” (countryside family houses) play an important role during the pandemic.

Effective mechanisms to support the population in a period of temporary, yet large-scale economic decline, which could be a solution for the Russian labour market, are suggested in the paper by Dr. Irina Denisova (University of Manchester and New Economic School, Moscow).

Population and Economics‘ Editor-in-Chief Irina Kalabikhina addresses in her paper the demographic and social issues of the pandemic.

“We are going through difficult times, and it is hardly possible to overestimate the role of science in the quickest passing through the crisis with the least human and economic losses. We hope that our Journal will contribute to the crucially important discussion on the impact of the pandemic on the economy and population,” concludes Editor-in-Chief of Population and Economics, Irina E. Kalabikhina.

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About Population and Economics

Population and Economics is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal, published by Lomonosov Moscow State University (Faculty of Economics). The journal covers basic and applied aspects of the relationship between population and economics in a broad sense.

The journal is running on the innovative scholarly publishing platform ARPHA, developed by scholarly publisher and technology provider Pensoft.

Original sources:

Kalabikhina IE (2020) What after? Essays on the expected consequences of the COVID-19 pandemics on the global and Russian economics and population. Population and Economics 4(2): 1-3. DOI: 10.3897/popecon.4.e53337

Auzan AA (2020) The economy under the pandemic and afterwards. Population and Economics 4(2): 4-12. DOI: 10.3897/popecon.4.e53403

Buklemishev OV (2020) Coronavirus crisis and its effects on the economy. Population and Economics 4(2): 13-17. DOI: 10.3897/popecon.4.e53295

Grigoryev LM (2020) Global social drama of pandemic and recession. Population and Economics 4(2): 18-25. DOI: 10.3897/popecon.4.e53325

Kartseva MA, Kuznetsova PO (2020) The economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic: which groups will suffer more in terms of loss of employment and income? Population and Economics 4(2): 26-33. DOI: 10.3897/popecon.4.e53194

Shastitko AE (2020) COVID-19: moments of truth and sources of controversy. Population and Economics 4(2): 34-38. DOI: 10.3897/popecon.4.e53285

Kurdin AA (2020) Institutional continuum in the context of the pandemic. Population and Economics 4(2): 39-42. DOI: 10.3897/popecon.4.e53299

Ivakhnyuk I (2020) Coronavirus pandemic challenges migrants worldwide and in Russia. Population and Economics 4(2): 49-55. DOI: 10.3897/popecon.4.e53201

Bobylev SN (2020) Environmental consequences of COVID-19 on the global and Russian economics. Population and Economics 4(2): 43-48. DOI: 10.3897/popecon.4.e53279

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