We study the labour market and welfare effects of expanding unemployment insurance benefits and introducing payroll subsidies during the COVID-19 pandemic. We find that both policies are complementary and are beneficial to different types of workers. Payroll subsidies preserve the employment of workers in highly productive jobs, while unemployment insurance replaces lost income for workers who experience inevitable job loss.
COVID-19 presents challenges for indebted households. We assess these by drawing parallels between pandemics and natural disasters. Taking into account the financial health of the household sector when the pandemic began, we run model simulations to illustrate how payment deferrals and the labour market recovery will affect mortgage defaults.