Indonesia’s Poverty Situation during the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • Indonesia’s COVID-19 daily case numbers continued to increase throughout  2020 and into early 2021 and was accompanied by the implementation of a social restriction policy. 
  • The economy has not completely recovered to prepandemic levels.
  • Indonesia’s poverty rate declined slightly from 10.19% in September 2020 to 10.14% in March 2021, but this rate is still higher than it was before the pandemic (9.2% in September 2019).
  • Households have used various coping mechanisms to meet their daily needs, such as selling assets or reducing expenditure.
  • Social assistance programs can ease the burden on households during crises resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Sudarno Sumarto one of the authors of the Handbook on Using Administrative Data for Research and Evidence-Based Policy (IDEA Handbook)

Dr. Sudarno Sumarto, one of SMERU’s senior research fellow, was among the selected authors to contribute to the production of the Innovations in Data and Experiments for Action Initiative (IDEA)’s Handbook on Using Administrative Data for Research and Evidence-Based Policy (IDEA Handbook).

Surviving the COVID-19 Pandemic as Viewed from the Economic Perspective

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economic life/well-being of some people is real. However, these people’s resilience against the pressure of this pandemic has its limit. The respondents are those immediately affected by the pandemic. Beyond this group of people, many other community groups may experience the same, or perhaps more severe, impact sooner or later.

Given that the economic shock they are now facing is due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the issue should end once the pandemic is over. Yes, the problem does sound that simple. But is that even realistic?

Dr. Sudarno Sumarto as Speaker at The Asia Health Policy Program (AHPP) 2020 2020-21 Colloquium Series

Dr. Sudarno Sumarto was invited as a speaker in one of the colloquium series conducted by the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center. He discussed whether Indonesia's social protection system is strong enough to help protect those working in the informal sector and marginal groups amid the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

SMERU Deputy Director as Speaker at CGIAR climate security webinar series: Charting the path to peace

SMERU Deputy Director of Research and Outreach Athia Yumna was invited as one of the speakers at one of the CGIAR climate security webinar series titled "Who bears the burden of climate variability in Indonesia?".

The webinar discussed some of the latest policies and initiatives to ensure that all people in Indonesia have equal opportunities and resilience to climate variability and therefore reduce chances for increased grievance and conflicts.

SMERU Director as Speaker at IPG Talks Series "BTS Policymaking: The Role of Knowledge"

Director of SMERU Widjajanti Isdijoso was one of the speakers at the IPG Talks series themed "BTS Policymaking: The Role of Knowledge". This discussion was aimed at strengthening critical discourse on issues related to evidence-based policymaking and efforts to strengthen the knowledge and innovation ecosystem in Indonesia, as well as opening insights for the public who are not familiar with this important issue.

Athia Yumna as Discussant in a Webinar "Reformasi Sistem Perlindungan Sosial Indonesia di Tengah Merebaknya Pandemi COVID-19"

Deputy Director of SMERU for Research and Outreach Athia Yumna was one of the discussants in a webinar entitled "Reformasi Sistem Perlindungan Sosial Indonesia di Tengah Merebaknya Pandemi COVID-19". In the webinar organized by UNDP Indonesia in collaboration with the Fiscal Policy Agency, Athia gave a presentation on "Tantangan dan Solusi dari Implementasi Program Perlindungan Sosial di Indonesia".

The Uncertainty of Large-Scale Social Restrictions (PSBB) in Indonesia’s COVID-19 Handling


  • Handing over the implementation of the PSBB policy to regional governments is inconsistent with the concept of decentralization, which essentially only delegates authorities, rather than separates authorities, between the central and regional governments.
  • Policy inconsistencies surround the implementation of the PSBB policy due to the varying interests between regional governments and between the central and regional governments.
  • The COVID-19 Response Acceleration Task Force fails to mediate the policy inconsistencies because they have no authority to do so.


Weighing the Risks, Building a Sense of Security amid the Pandemic

Since the first case of COVID-19 was announced by the government until three months later, public perceptions of the risk of COVID-19 kept changing.

The conditions of the four community groups in this article show that the level of understanding of risk in the form of community members' adherence to the regulations cannot be separated from sociocultural factors, as well as policy response factors and handling of COVID-19.

Given that the risk factors for each person and group are not the same, as well as varied community responses, promptly communicating the risk of COVID-19 to various groups of society by considering existing socioeconomic conditions is very important to do.