About the project

This project explores and assesses different socioeconomic solutions and provides evidence-based policy recommendations on social security regulations to mitigate the economic consequences of the COVID-19 epidemic.

After the initial shock to healthcare and national security, the most persistent effect from COVID-19 will be economic. Due to the lockdown, the adoption of automation may be expedited, leading to permanent changes in the labor markets. The COVID-19 epidemic has already generated an equivalent number of job loss within a short space as time. We study plausible social policy measures in the event of major job losses  from automation.

By combining the results from the first and second part of this project, we develop policy proposals recommending practical solutions.

  • First, we carry out a European-level comparison of socioeconomic adaptability to divergent hypothetical unemployment scenarios following the lockdowns and subsequent economic recession based on previous analysis conducted with the same method and data. To compare socioeconomic adaptability to the COVID-19 shock, we analyse government revenues from taxes and social insurance contributions, government expenditures on social transfers, total budgetary implications, poverty risks at the population level, and Gini coefficients based on disposable income.
  • Second, countries have introduced radical reforms to save jobs and to alleviate economic problems arising from the COVID-19 epidemic. We explore variations in social policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in a comparative setting with an aim of identifying the best practices. We will focus especially on employment promotion policies, and policies to support consumers’ purchasing power and domestic demand. The data is collected through an extensive literature review, media content and document analysis, and expert interviews.

The research is carried out in the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Helsinki.