CDES COVID-19 projects

The Centre for Development Economics and Sustainability (CDES) is collaborating with NGOs in Bangladesh and India to reach out to all of our previous survey respondents in rural Bangladesh over the phone to encourage them to follow the basic protective measures against the coronavirus. We expect to reach out to at least one hundred thousand people in those communities.

We are partnering with our collaborators in developing countries including individual researcher, NGOs and research organisations to conduct rapid actionable research and communicate the research findings to policy makers to help them respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

At this point, for our field work, we will primarily use phone surveys to gather information. In addition to providing awareness on COVID-19 and related health issues, we would like to quickly assess the lives and livelihoods of the poor and the vulnerable communicates in Australia and developing countries.

Hence, providing evidence based on information gathering from the field will be important to understand and monitor the evolving socioeconomic vulnerabilities and the resultant effects on these people. Our objectives are to provide useful insights to different stakeholders working with COVID-19 issues.


The socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in developing countries

  • Professor Asad Islam (CDES), with many external collaborators, including NGOs such as BRAC, GDRI in Bangladesh, IIT Kanpur University in India

The global pandemic of COVID-19 has paralysed the globe over the last few months. The developing countries are going through a different experience where there is not much safety nets to lean against during a prolonged emergency situation. The lockdown and social distancing have resulted in business closure and disruption to informal economic activities bringing the livelihood of millions of people, particularly those in the low-income groups, to a halt.

In India and Bangladesh, we are collecting socioeconomic and public health data to understand:

  1. compliance with social distancing behavior and other recommended health practices, and
  2. impacts on their lives and livelihoods due to the prolonged lock-down situation.

This is going to be an ongoing research to follow more than ten thousand households in both countries to understand the evolving issues on the lives and livelihood of the rural population.


  • Professor Sisira Jayasuriya is undertaking two projects with his colleagues in Pakistan

(a) COVID-19 and household wellbeing with particular reference to household violence in Pakistan

COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns have imposed many both economic hardships and other domestic stresses.  In developing countries, cramped living spaces, extended family living, and entrenched socio-cultural factors aggravate the difficulties of coping with lower incomes, enforced isolation and breakdown of normal social interactions. News reports in both developed and developing countries point to a significant increase in household violence. This project investigates the impact on a small sample of Pakistani households with particular reference to factors contributing to domestic violence and options for alleviating domestic strains, using information gathered from phone interviews and social media.

(b) COVID-19 - impact on agricultural supply chains

COVID-19 restrictions have had a major impact on both agricultural production, trade, distribution and marketing on the one hand and on the consumption of agricultural, particularly food, products. In this project we use social media, networks and phone interviews to investigate the impact on agricultural supply chains in Pakistan, with particular attention to dairy and horticultural products. While the large scale government spending programs to provide safety nets to the population are unlikely to increase general inflation, dislocations to agricultural production and supply chains more broadly have the potential for emergence of serious food shortages and food price inflation with severe effects on household welfare, particularly of the poor.