The Challenge of Protecting Informal Households during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Evidence from Latin America

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Jun 2020
Latin American countries introduced rapid emergency measures to sustain the income of informal workers and their families during shelter-in-place orders to contain COVID-19. The effectiveness of these measures is limited. The coverage and replacement rates of usual labor income are high among the first quintile of the population but fairly low in the second and third quintiles, where a substantial fraction of households are informal and have limited ability to telework. If governments plan to extend lockdown measures or reintroduce them in the future, they might need to consider broader income transfers for the lower-middle class.