Poverty and Welfare Impacts of COVID-19 and Mitigation Policies in Georgia

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Tackling Uncertainty with Real-Time Data: Tracing COVID-19’s Impact on Households and Firms in Georgia

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the Georgian economy into shutdown and led to a steep economic contraction of 6 percent in 2020. Despite signs of a gradual recovery and the development of new vaccines, there are still uncertainties on the pathway to a full economic recovery.

According to the latest poverty projection by the World Bank, the economic shock from the pandemic could have impoverished 350,000 people in Georgia and forced over 800,000 people to suffer from downward mobility, transitioning to a lower-income group.

These profound impacts of the crisis underscore the urgency of timely data and real-time analyses for countries to quickly and effectively mitigate the effects of the shock and lay the groundwork for future resilience.

To support the Government of Georgia in managing the impacts of the pandemic and protect its people and economy, the World Bank has collaborated with various partners to collect a series of high-frequency phone surveys (HFPSs) that can be used widely to monitor the evolution of the crisis and its impacts on households and firms.

This webpage serves as a platform to share the HFPSs collected and the analyses produced for Georgia by the World Bank and other development partners.

Household COVID-19 monitoring survey

The World Bank collaborated with the Caucasus Research Resource Centers in Tbilisi, Georgia to conduct a COVID-19 Georgia High Frequency Survey: Wave 1 (COVID-19 GHFS-1) to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on households in Georgia, which was collected in December 2020. This is the first of the two planned surveys to be completed by early 2021 (COVID-19 GHFS–2, forthcoming).

The COVID-19 GHFS-1 comprises the following modules: 1) Household Identification, 2) Household Demographics, 3) Assets and Access to Internet, 4) Prevalence of COVID-19, 5) Distance Learning, 6) Employment Dynamics, 7) Income, 8) Food Security, 9) Shocks and Coping Strategies, 10) Vaccine, and 11) Perception.

The COVID-19 GHFS series is designed so that it also serves as the follow-up to the CRRC Covid-19 Monitor, Waves 1-6, 2020 that were conducted between April and June, 2020. The survey covers a wide range of topics – ranging from institutional performance to approval of newly introduced policies and perceptions on economic situation.

A set of new questions were also introduced on a weekly basis to explore specific sets of issues in depth. Special topics include religion, education policy, disinformation, gender, and democracy. The CRRC COVID-19 Monitor, Waves 1-6, 2020 was made possible through the support of the Embassy of the Netherlands in Tbilisi.

Firm COVID-19 Monitoring Survey

For firm-level analyses, the team collaborated with the Enterprise Survey (ES) team to collect data on firms that are representative of the private sector. The surveys cover a broad range of business environment topics including access to finance, corruption, infrastructure, crime, competition, and performance measures.

In Georgia, the survey was first collected between March and December 2019 to serve as a baseline to estimate the impact of COVID-19. The second round was collected in June 2020 by phone-interviews to enterprises that had previously participated in the 2019 ES. This second round, follow-up survey in Georgia interviewed 581 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

Poverty Projections Based on Nationally Representative Household Survey

The World Bank has produced a number of analytical pieces to address the short-term impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on poverty and distributional outcomes in Georgia, using data from the latest nationally representative household survey as the main data source (2018 Household Incomes and Expenditure Survey).

Three types of analyses were conducted sequentially: projections through poverty/growth elasticity methods assuming neutral impact of COVID-19 based on macroeconomic projections, micro-simulation incorporating possible distributional impact of COVID-19 on household welfare and inequality, and impact assessment of COVID-19 on household welfare incorporating mitigation policy responses.