A once-in-a-century crisis—a Great Disruption unleashed by a viral pandemic—hit the world economy in 2020. In a matter of months, the number of people living in poverty increased sharply, while income and wealth inequality trended towards new highs. Governments around the world responded rapidly—and boldly—to stem the health and economic contagion of the crisis. Fiscal and monetary stimulus packages were quickly rolled out to save the economy. The crisis responses, however, entailed difficult choices between saving lives and saving livelihoods, between speed of delivery and efficiency, and between short-term costs and long-term impacts. Limited fiscal space and high levels of public debt constrained the ability of many developing countries to roll out sufficiently large stimulus packages.
World Economic Situation and Prospects 2021
Author(s): United Nations
Publication Date: 3/1/2021