The impacts of COVID-19 and policy responses in rural economies: Findings from a local-economy general equilibrium modelling study

The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and government policies to limit its spread are multi-faceted and complex. Market linkages transmit these impacts through economies, from directly affected actors to others in both the urban and rural spheres. Economic contexts, including the structure of local economies, shape the transmission of impacts on rural men and women. Because of this, the pandemic, lockdowns, and mitigation policies influence outcomes in complex ways. In most cases, the magnitudes and even the signs of impacts cannot be determined ex ante. In this study, we use multiple local economy-wide impact evaluation (LEWIE) models to estimate the impacts of the pandemic and lockdowns on rural producers and households in a diversity of economic and agro-climatic settings, using simulation methods. We also examine the likely effects of alternative migitation measures.