Economic Recovery during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Policy experts discuss how the pandemic will affect different aspects of the economy—in both the present and the future.

COVID-19 has had a devastating economic impact on Canada and other countries around the world. Supply chains have been disrupted; stores, workplaces, and schools closed; and countless people left unemployed or underemployed, with no option but to turn to governments for support. Accordingly, legislators and central banks have rolled out sweeping fiscal and monetary policy measures.

The Max Bell School's Policy Challenges during a Pandemic series addressed these issues through a number of webinars and briefings covering economic recovery issues in the COVID-19 context. Here is a recap:

Early Thoughts on the Policy Responses to a Pandemic Recession

The characteristics of the COVID-19 crisis represent an unprecedented threat, requiring a new lens and a nuanced understanding of what makes a pandemic recession so exceptional. Chris Ragan, Director of the Max Bell School, delivered this presentation and briefing outlining the fiscal and monetary policy tools we can use to respond to this unique economic emergency.

Why Can’t They Just Send Us All A Cheque? Debating A Crisis Basic Income

The idea of a basic income has been around for years, but it has yet to take off, except via some minor pilot projects. Will COVID-19 will change that? Max Bell School Director Chris Ragan moderated a webcast discussion with Ken Boessenkool and Professor Jennifer Robson, who presented their arguments for and against the idea that a crisis basic income is the best way forward in addressing the current economic situation. Check out the webcast, and also be sure to read Ken Boessenkool’s policy briefing, which outlines his three main points in support of the basic income idea.

The World Oil Market, COVID-19, and International Politics

World oil prices have recently collapsed — a combined effect of COVID-19 and an ill-timed price war. In the coming years, what role will oil play in the global economy? With oil prices in a deep slump, are countries poised to undergo an energy revolution, shifting to more clean and sustainable energy sources? In this webinar and briefing, see what John Stewart had to say about the future of oil, the current pandemic’s impact on world oil prices, and the implications for economies, climate policy, and foreign relations.

Our Director Weighs In

In several webinars and op-eds, Max Bell School Director Chris Ragan shared his perspectives on a range of economic issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID’s Financial Fallout

Job losses, layoffs, bailouts and economic uncertainty: COVID-19 is exerting a profound financial impact on individuals, businesses, and governments. While the full financial ramifications will not be understood for years, there are some effects that can be assessed or forecasted, providing policymakers with tools to help mitigate some of the economic pains this crisis is wreaking on Canada. The Director of the Max Bell School, Chris Ragan, was joined by McGill Assistant Professor of Sociology Barry Eidlin for a webinar addressing the financial fallout of COVID-19.

Understanding global post-pandemic economic recovery

What do we know about the post-pandemic global economic landscape? It’s hard to predict anything with certainty. But there are data, models, and historical reference points that can provide us with a rough picture of what’s in store. Max Bell School Director Chris Ragan was joined by economic expert Danielle Goldfarb and banking executive Sylvain Leduc to dive into what we can expect to happen to the economy in the coming months and years.

Support Canadians now, but not at the expense of our future

In light of the pandemic, governments have moved quickly to support hard-hit workers and businesses. This provision of economic “relief” is different from conventional “stimulus” common during normal recessions. Whereas stimulus policies are all about getting people back to work and businesses back to normal levels of operation, the current relief policies are about replacing people’s incomes while they are safely isolating at home. Replacing a big fraction of the lost income is proving to be very expensive for Canada, and the bill is being added to our public debt. Professor Chris Ragan and Dr. Paul Boothe discuss the complex problem of restarting the economy and the future state of public services.

Canada needs a new prescription for the pandemic recession

The spread of the COVID-19 virus has resulted in a severe — and unique — recession, which continues to ravage many corners of the Canadian economy. What makes the current "pandemic" recession so different from a "normal" recession, and how should government policy reflect this reality? In this Maclean's article, Max Bell School Director Chris Ragan and Dr. Paul Boothe break down the role of governments and the shortcomings of conventional stimulus in this pandemic context.

Engineering a ‘green recovery’ is a terrible idea

The federal government is crafting stimulus policies to lift Canada out of the economic crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, and it seems clear the Liberals want to incorporate their climate goals into the measures. Is a stimulus package the best way to deal with a pandemic recession? And is mounting a “green recovery” the most efficient strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions? Professor Chris Ragan and Associate Professor Andrew Potter assess the federal government’s forthcoming plan to revive the economy and tackle climate change.

Three rules for post-pandemic corporate rescues

Given the recent early-warning signal from bank earnings, we should be expecting a wave of business failures in the months ahead; demands for taxpayer assistance will soon follow. Now is the time for governments to commit to clear principles to guide their response. In this Financial Post article, Max Bell School Director Chris Ragan and Dr. Paul Boothe explain what we can learn from the financial crisis of 2008-09.

The Max Bell School’s Policy Challenges during a Pandemic series tapped into the expertise of the Max Bell School community and beyond to tackle the complexity of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts.

In addition to issues related to economic recovery, policy experts have weighed in on issues of institutions and governments, communications and misinformation, and health and equity.

Click here to take a look at the other articles in the series.


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