Diversos estudios bioarqueológicos han mostrado que las pandemias tienen un impacto muy relevante en el incremento de las desigualdades preexistentes. Una preocupación importante durante el periodo de propagación del COVID-19 fue que su impacto económico pudiera afectar de manera desproporcionada a los segmentos más vulnerables de la población. Un problema habitual con las medidas de desigualdad es que su cálculo se produce con bastante retraso y de forma muy infrecuente. En este artículo presentamos una metodología pionera para analizar la evolución de la desigualdad en tiempo real que permite reajustar las acciones de política económica para mitigar el impacto de un shock de desarrollo rápido, como la pandemia, sobre la desigualdad. Este trabajo es fruto de un proyecto pionero de colaboración público-privada entre la Universitat Pompeu Fabra-IPEG y el Departamento de Investigación de CaixaBank. Los resultados muestran el enorme aumento de la desigualdad que se produjo durante los primeros meses de la pandemia y el efecto que tuvieron los ERTE en la mitigación de dicho aumento. A principios de 2022 la desigualdad había vuelto al nivel prepandémico tanto en términos agregados como por subgrupos de la población.Alternate :Several bio-archaeological studies have shown that pandemics have a very significant impact on the increase in pre-existing inequalities. A major concern during the period of spread of COVID-19 was that its economic impact could disproportionately affect the most vulnerable segments of the population A common problem with inequality measures is that their calculation is produced with considerable delay and very low frequency. In this article, we present a pioneering methodology to analyze the evolution of inequality in real time that allows economic policy actions to be readjusted to mitigate the impact of a rapidly developing shock, such as the pandemic, on inequality. This work is the result of an innovative public-private collaboration project between the Universitat Pompeu Fabra-IPEG and the CaixaBank research department. The results show the enormous increase in inequality that occurred during the first months of the pandemic, and the effect that ERTE had in mitigating this increase. By early 2022, inequality had returned to the pre-pandemic level both at the aggregate level and by population subgroups.
Pandemics have historically had a significant impact on economic inequality. However, official inequality statistics are only available at low frequency and with considerable delay, which challenges policymakers in their objective to mitigate inequality and fine-tune public policies. We show that using data from bank records it is possible to measure economic inequality at high frequency. The approach proposed in this paper allows measuring, timely and accurately, the impact on inequality of fast-unfolding crises, like the COVID-19 pandemic. Applying this approach to data from a representative sample of over three million residents of Spain we find that, absent government intervention, inequality would have increased by almost 30% in just one month. The granularity of the data allows analyzing with great detail the sources of the increases in inequality. In the Spanish case we find that it is primarily driven by job losses and wage cuts experienced by low-wage earners. Government support, in particular extended unemployment insurance and benefits for furloughed workers, were generally effective at mitigating the increase in inequality, though less so among young people and foreign-born workers. Therefore, our approach provides knowledge on the evolution of inequality at high frequency, the effectiveness of public policies in mitigating the increase of inequality and the subgroups of the population most affected by the changes in inequality. This information is fundamental to fine-tune public policies on the wake of a fast-moving pandemic like the COVID-19.