Pandemics are confronted in a different context in developing countries and thus its containment has different consequences. Women may be especially vulnerable in these settings given gender norms, low availability of mental health services, and weaker state capacity. To examine how women fare in these contexts during the COVID-19 Pandemic, the researchers conduct a large phone survey in India. Given the mosaic of policies within relatively small geographic areas, researchers are able to derive meaningful variation in lockdown policies and assess the relationship of containment with mental health and other measures of well-being.
Doing this, the study finds that the pandemic is associated with drastic income losses and increases in food insecurity, as well as declines in female mental health and well-being. With the evidence from the surveys, researchers are able to further show that the negative effects of the pandemic are exacerbated in areas with more containment, and respondents in these areas report both worse female mental health and more food insecurity. Read the detailed Working Paper here.