The Market-Reach of Pandemics: Evidence from Female Workers in Ethiopia’s Ready-Made Garment Industry

Working Paper
Published on 28 August 2020


In a globalized world, pandemics transmit impacts through markets. Meyer et al. (2020) document employment changes, coping strategies, and welfare indicators of garment factory workers in Ethiopia’s largest industrial park during the early stages of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 pandemic. They field a phone survey on female workers employed at the start of the crisis during a two month period in which cases are rapidly rising globally, but not locally. Their data suggest significant changes in employment, high levels of migration away from urban areas to rural areas if women are no longer working, and high levels of food insecurity. These findings compel a research and policy focus on documenting and mitigating the market-reach of pandemics on low-income women at the margins.


Christian Johannes Meyer

University of Oxford

Morgan Hardy

New York University, Abu Dhabi

Marc Witte

University of Oxford

Gisella Kagy

Vassar College

Eyoual Demeke

Policy Studies Institute