Economic Affairs

Managing the K-shaped recovery

Government policies must focus on lifting the downward slope of the 'K'


Ever since the Covid-19 pandemic started, sending economies into a tailspin, economists have been dipping into their alphabet soup trying to figure out the shape of the recovery to come.

Would it be a "V", they asked - a sharp upturn from a trough? Or a "U" - a rebound from a rounded bottom? Or would it take the shape of the swoosh of the Nike logo, like a tick mark and an extended recovery? Or a square root shape - a V-shaped recovery that then plateaus out? Or would there be a double-dip recession, meaning a "W"? Or, worse, would the economy never fully recover, yielding the dreaded "L" shape? Many of these shapes have characterised recoveries from recessions past.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 05, 2021, with the headline 'Managing the K-shaped recovery'. Subscribe