Questions and answers about coronavirus and the UK economy

A collective initiative by the economic research community to answer questions from policy-makers and the public about the economics of the Covid-19 crisis and the recovery

What will happen if international trade and mobility are permanently reduced?

It is unclear how long restrictions on trade and travel will remain in place – and too soon to say if coronavirus will permanently reduce cross-border flows of goods, services and people. But there is plenty of evidence on the potential damage to the world economy.

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Why has coronavirus affected cities more than rural areas?

Why have big cities around the world become coronavirus hotspots, while many smaller towns and rural regions have suffered fewer cases and deaths? And what are the roles of urban density and social interaction when global pandemics become more common?

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Why are people in some socio-economic groups more vulnerable to coronavirus?

Covid-19 infections and mortality have been more prevalent among disadvantaged groups of people in the UK and elsewhere. Differences in vulnerability seem to result from a combination of socio-economic differences in exposure to the disease, health behaviours and health conditions.

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What does coronavirus mean for the future of sport and fitness clubs?

With the closure of indoor sports facilities, many people have shifted to alternative forms of exercise. Even after re-opening, this is likely to affect gym owners and staff. Some previous gym users may also be getting less exercise, leading to concerns about rising obesity.

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How can we protect young people from being scarred by coronavirus?

Young people suffer negative consequences from recessions – and we expect their experience of the Covid-19 crisis to be no different. The government has a toolkit of policies to protect them from long-lasting ‘scarring’ effects: which measures are most likely to succeed?

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Is the Covid-19 recession caused by supply or demand factors?

UK GDP is falling sharply in part because firms are less able to produce goods and services, and in part because consumers aren’t spending as much. Which mechanisms are the most important – and why does this matter for policy-makers?

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How will the economic effects of coronavirus vary across areas of the UK?

There are significant differences in economic performance and wellbeing between and within areas of the UK. The health and economic crisis caused by Covid-19 is likely to exacerbate these existing inequalities.

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Can we get accurate short-term forecasts of coronavirus cases and deaths?

In a pandemic, policy-makers need to plan healthcare provision carefully and adjust the intensity of measures to mitigate the spread of the virus. That requires real-time forecasts of cases and deaths that are timely and accurate indicators of what will happen over the next week or so.

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What difference will the COVID Summer Food Fund make to children’s lives?

Following a campaign by footballer Marcus Rashford, the government’s COVID Summer Food Fund will provide food vouchers for children from low-income families who are eligible for free school meals. What are the likely results?

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Funded by

UKRI Economic and Social Research Council
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