Measuring the economic situation in Ghana in real time during COVID-19

In response to the worldwide spread of COVID-19, the government of Ghana had to take unprecedented policy measures. Because of the rapid spread of the virus, policymakers are required to adjust their goals frequently, reflecting changing circumstances and private sector’s responses to policies. This project aimed at providing real-time information to policymakers in Ghana that could be used to evaluate the effectiveness of policies and calibrate them in a timely manner given limited bureaucratic resources.

The project focuses on two economic indicators. The first one is weekly urban employment statistics. Each week, the survey recorded working hours of 500 individuals, mostly working in Accra and Kumasi. The survey data were then translated into weekly statistics of employment rate and average hours worked. The second statistics is monthly residential/non-residential electricity consumption. Electricity grid data were provided monthly from the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and transformed into national level statistics.

Both statistics are shown to closely reflect the private sector’s responses to the government’s containment policies. Shortly after the lockdown, employment rates, hours worked, and electricity consumption showed a sharp decline. Post-lockdown recovery of the economy was also confirmed, as the statistics show gradual reversion to pre-lockdown levels after it was lifted. These real-time statistics have proven to be useful indicators which reflect economic conditions at high frequency.


  • Publication - Policy Brief

    Real-time economic impacts of COVID-19 in Ghana

    To better inform policy decisions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this project collected high-frequency data and produced economic indicators in real-time during the crisis. We focused on two economic indicators: weekly urban employment statistics and monthly electricity usage. Employment statistics are calculated based on weekly online surveys and electricity...

    16 Apr 2021 | James Dzansi, Minki Kim, David Lagakos, Henry Telli

  • Blog post

    Women's employment during the pandemic in Ghana: A tale of vulnerability and resilience

    Women have traditionally been more vulnerable in the labour market, more underrepresented and the nature of their employment less secure. While the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures to contain it hit women's employment the hardest, they were also the more resilient and rebounded much faster than men. Editor’s note: This article is part of our International Women’s...

    29 Mar 2021 | James Dzansi, Minki Kim, David Lagakos, Henry Telli

  • Publication - Project Report

    Monthly summary of the economic situation in Ghana

    This report primarily focuses on two main economic indicators: employment and electricity usage, drawn from weekly surveys of urban employment and monthly data on electricity distribution.

    16 Apr 2021 |