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Issue paper

Comparing crises: Great Lockdown versus Great Recession

A comparison of the Great Lockdown of 2020 underway with the Great Recession of 2009, reveals some regularities, yet many differences. Notably, the shock associated with the Great Recession arose out of economy-wide stress, particularly high-income countries, while in direct contrast, the Great Lockdown was borne outside of the global economic system, and seemingly is set to leave most countries severely affected, high and low-income countries alike. Both crises, however, have led to similar impacts to economies throughout the world, with significant contractions to economic growth, economic activity and employment.

For global food and agriculture, the Great Recession unfolded as a combination of two distinct crises that followed each other from 2007 to 2009. The initial 2007-2008 crisis was largely limited to food and agriculture, arising from a combination of supply and demand shocks within the global food sector. The 2009 crisis arose from an external demand side shock, brought about by the sharp contraction in overall economic activity in 2009, which is now known as the Great Recession. When referring to the Great Recession, this paper distinguishes two distinct sub-crises, i.e. the global food crisis of 2007-2008 and the global recession of 2009