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COVID-19 vs. UPG: Evidence from the 2007 Cohort in Bangladesh

By Max Gollin • March 24, 2021 • 1 minute read

Atiya Rahman and Oriana Bandiera (March 2021)

Under normal conditions, BRAC’s flagship Graduation approach aiming to alleviate poverty was proven to be highly successful at giving the poorest women in some of the poorest areas of Bangladesh the tools to escape the poverty trap (Balboni et al., 2021; Bandiera et al., 2017). Pilots of the UPG program have shown that its effectiveness can be replicated in diverse settings (Banerjee et al., 2015; Banerjee et al., 2018). The question tackled here is whether these improvements are robust to systemic shocks such as COVID-19. This paper investigates the impact of the pandemic on the 2007 cohort of participants of BRAC’s Ultra-Poor Graduation (UPG) program in rural areas of Bangladesh.