COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020. Most countries have closed their schools for months to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and hospital overcrowding, emphasizing the gravity of the problem. Students and teachers are returning to in-person schooling two years later, but they are concerned about the spread of coronavirus variations.
The impact of school closures on learning and socialization has been a source of concern for educators, lawmakers, parents, and students. The “pandemic has resulted in the biggest loss of human capital in living memory, as well as the worst education catastrophe in a century,” according to World Bank Group President David Malpass. Unfortunately, this significant loss of human capital could have far-reaching implications for the job market in the future.
In many ways, the effects on the labor market will go unnoticed. None of the students who are currently affected will notice a pandemic tax cut on their paystubs in the future. Even as the loss gradually mounts over time, no national revenue statement will represent the magnitude of the loss. Despite the fact that the loss will be unseen, it will be no less real. Frédéric Bastiat, a French economist, politician, and journalist, believed that it was one’s societal responsibility to call attention to hidden losses in public policy debates.
It’s not easy to fulfill our civic obligation by calculating the future hidden consequences of pandemic-related school closures. The temporal lags between schooling shocks and their implications are one of the most significant measuring challenges, which Alfred Marshall discovered in 1890. The outcomes of today’s education decisions, whether decided by legislators or by families, are only truly quantified after a long time, at which point there is frequently nothing that can be done to repair past mistakes. To put it another way, measuring the effects requires either a lot of patience or a clever research design.
To estimate the expected impact of COVID-19-related school closures on people’s future salaries, researchers frequently employ models with a modest number of variables. This top-down strategy is frequently based on well-informed assumptions regarding average missed school years owing to the pandemic, projected returns to schooling, and other characteristics, such as remote schooling’s mitigation effects. The method simplifies a complicated universe into a few simple aggregate models. However, because the complex aspects are often unknown, the top-down technique is the greatest alternative for modelling future shock impacts.