Covid-19 Research at J-PAL MENA

Two women wearing masks chat near their houses during the Covid-19-related state of emergency in Casablanca, Morocco.
J-PAL MENA is coordinating efforts by affiliates and staff to understand and mitigate the impact of Covid-19 in the region.


To address how existing social assistance programs could be enhanced in response to Covid-19, J-PAL MENA held a webinar titled “Social Assistance Response to Large External Shocks in Egypt: What We Can Learn from Randomized Evaluations.” The webinar aimed to foster a discussion using rigorous evidence between Egyptian policymakers, development practitioners, and J-PAL affiliated researchers on designing adaptive social assistance during the pandemic. The webinar featured the Minister of Social Solidarity in Egypt, who shared highlights from the Ministry’s response strategy which targeted vulnerable groups most affected by Covid-19 in Egypt, with a particular focus on women, children, and refugees.

Find a recap of key takeaways from the webinar here.


J-PAL MENA’s Morocco Employment Lab issued a report that analyzes the impact of Covid-19 on the Moroccan economy, with a particular focus on the labor market. The report was prepared in collaboration with Evidence for Policy Design at the Harvard Kennedy School and the Policy Center for the New South.

Find the full report here.

J-PAL MENA has a longstanding partnership with the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development to implement the Graduation Approach in Egypt as the Bab Amal program. In responding to Covid-19, researchers introduced a rapid assessment to follow-up with households participating in the program and assess the impact of the pandemic on their lives. They found that asset types, namely livestock or non-livestock assets, are correlated with revenue generation and food consumption levels, and that female labor force participation decreased during the pandemic.

Find a presentation on the rapid assessment results here.

J-PAL MENA is collaborating with the Ministry of Social Solidarity in Egypt to evaluate the impact of access to nurseries and childcare services on female labor force participation and early childhood development. Recognizing that Covid-19 has disproportionately affected women with young children who may have lost access to childcare services, the research team introduced a number of questions to the data collection survey to investigate the economic and social impacts of the pandemic on mothers, husbands, and firms in order to assess the gendered impacts of the pandemic.

Find the evaluation summary here.

J-PAL MENA also partnered with the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights to explicitly assess the impact of Covid-19 on women’s exposure to gender-based violence (GBV) and intimate partner violence (IPV). The evaluation aims to examine the effects of delivering information through edutainment and media saturation on attitudes towards GBV and IPV and actual behavioral responses to violence.

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