nep-hea New Economics Papers
on Health Economics
Issue of 2020‒06‒22
fifty papers chosen by
Nicolas R. Ziebarth
Cornell University

  1. In Sickness and in Health: Job Displacement and Health. Spillovers in Couples By Gathmann, Christina; Huttunen, Kristiina; Jernström, Laura; Sääksvuori, Lauri; Stitzing, Robin
  2. Medical Device Companies and Doctors: Do their Interactions Affect Medical Treatments ? By Sofia Amaral-Garcia
  3. Social Security, Labor Supply and Health of Older Workers: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from a Large Reform By Saporta-Eksten, Itay; Shurtz, Ity; Weisburd, Sarit
  4. Dying to Work: Effects of Unemployment Insurance on Health By Alexander Ahammer; Analisa Packham
  5. Quantiles of the Gain Distribution of an Early Child Intervention By Battistin, Erich; Lamarche, Carlos; Rettore, Enrico
  6. Shedding Light on Maternal Education and Child Health in Developing Countries By Le, Kien; Nguyen, My
  7. The Water of Life and Death: A Brief Economic History of Spirits By Lara Cockx; Giulia Meloni; Johan Swinnen
  8. Beauty and Adolescent Risky Behaviours By Colin P. Green; Luke Wilson; Anwen Zhang
  9. Poverty, Depression, and Anxiety: Causal Evidence and Mechanisms By Matthew W. Ridley; Gautam Rao; Frank Schilbach; Vikram H. Patel
  10. Social Interaction and Technology Adoption: Experimental Evidence from Improved Cookstoves in Mali By Jacopo Bonan; Pietro Battiston; Jaimie Bleck; Philippe LeMay-Boucher; Stefano Pareglio; Bassirou Sarr; Massimo Tavoni
  11. Analyzing Flooding Impacts on Rural Access to Hospitals and Other Critical Services in Rural Cambodia Using Geo-Spatial Information and Network Analysis By Espinet Alegre,Xavier; Stanton-Geddes,Zuzana; Aliyev,Sadig
  12. Private Health Investments under Competing Risks: Evidence from Malaria Control in Senegal By Rossi, Pauline; Villar, Paola
  13. Ex ante Inequality of Opportunity in Health among the Elderly in China: A Distributional Decomposition Analysis of Biomarkers By Ding, L.; Jones, A.M.; Nie, P.
  14. An economic model of the Covid-19 epidemic: The importance of testing and age-specific policies By Brotherhood, Luiz; Kircher, Philipp; Santos, Cezar; Tertilt, Michèle
  15. Health versus Wealth: On the Distributional Effects of Controlling a Pandemic By Andrew Glover; Jonathan Heathcote; Dirk Krueger; Jose-Victor Rios-Rull
  16. Statistical Decision Properties of Imprecise Trials Assessing COVID-19 Drugs By Charles F. Manski; Aleksey Tetenov
  17. Were Urban Cowboys Enough to Control COVID-19? Local Shelter-In-Place Orders and Coronavirus Case Growth By Dave, Dhaval M.; Friedson, Andrew I.; Matsuzawa, Kyutaro; Sabia, Joseph J.; Safford, Samuel
  18. Measuring the Spanish Flu’s Economic Impact Using Historical Macroeconomic Statistics By gregory, paul
  19. COVID-19, Lockdowns and Well-Being: Evidence from Google Trends By Abel Brodeur; Andrew Clark; Sarah Fleche; Nattavudh Powdthavee
  20. Lost in lockdown? COVID-19, social distancing, and mental health in Germany By Armbruster, Stephanie; Klotzbücher, Valentin
  21. Could Ramadan catalyze SARS-CoV-2 spread? Preliminary results By Jarynowski, Andrzej; Płatek, Daniel
  22. Social Distancing and Supply Disruptions in a Pandemic By Bodenstein, Martin; Corsetti, Giancarlo; Guerrieri, Luca
  23. Deadly Debt Crises: COVID-19 in Emerging Markets By Cristina Arellano; Yan Bai; Gabriel Mihalache
  24. Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Outpatient Providers in the US By Pinka Chatterji; Yue Li
  25. Social capital and the spread of Covid-19: Insights from European countries By Bartscher, Alina Kristin; Seitz, Sebastian; Slotwinski, Michaela; Wehrhöfer, Nils; Siegloch, Sebastian
  26. Mortality containment vs. economics opening: optimal policies in a SEIARD model By Andrea Aspri; Elena Beretta; Alberto Gandolfi; Etienne Wasmer
  27. Aid Crowd-Out: The Effect of NGOs on Government-Provided Public Services By Deserranno, Erika; Qian, Nancy
  28. Death, demography and the denominator: New Influenza-18 mortality estimates for Ireland By Colvin, Christopher L.; McLaughlin, Eoin
  29. The COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on inequality of opportunity in psychological distress in the UK By Davillas, A.; Jones, A.M.
  30. The Impacts of COVID-19 on Minority Unemployment: First Evidence from April 2020 CPS Microdata By Couch, Kenneth A.; Fairlie, Robert W.; Xu, Huanan
  31. The gender gap in mental well-being during the Covid-19 outbreak: evidence from the UK By Etheridge, Ben; Spantig, Lisa
  32. Social distancing and contagion in a discrete choice model of COVID-19 By Giorgos Baskozos; Giorgos Galanis; Corrado Di Guilmi
  33. The Impact of HIV/AIDS on Human Capital Investment in Sub-Saharan Africa: New Evidence By Chicoine, Luke; Lyons, Emily; Sahue, Alexia
  34. Remote-learning, Time-Use, and Mental Health of Ecuadorian High-School Studentsduring the COVID-19 Quarantine By Asanov,Igor; Flores,Francisco; Mckenzie,David J.; Mensmann,Mona; Schulte,Mathis
  35. Act Now or Forever Hold Your Peace: Slowing Contagion with Unknown Spreaders, Constrained Cleaning Capacities and Costless Measures By Louis-Marie Harpedanne de Belleville
  36. Estimating and Simulating a SIRD Model of COVID-19 for Many Countries, States, and Cities By Fernández-Villaverde, Jesús; Jones, Charles I
  37. COVID-19 and Social Distancing in the Absence of Legal Enforcement: Survey Evidence from Japan By Shoji, Masahiro; Cato, Susumu; Iida, Takashi; Ishida, Kenji; Ito, Asei; McElwain, Kenneth
  38. Impact of Child Subsidies on Child Health, Well-being and Parental Investment in Human Capital: Evidence from Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey 2011-2017 By Alex Proshin
  39. Lives and Livelihoods: Estimates of the Global Mortality and Poverty Effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic By Benoit Decerf; Francisco H. G. Ferreira; Daniel G. Mahler; Olivier Sterck
  40. The Hammer and the Dance: Equilibrium and Optimal Policy during a Pandemic Crisis By Assenza, Tiziana; Collard, Fabrice; Dupaigne, Martial; Fève, Patrick; Hellwig, Christian; Kankanamge, Sumudu; Werquin, Nicolas
  41. Partial Lockdown and the Spread of Covid-19: Lessons from the Italian Case By Edoardo Di Porto; Paolo Naticchioni; Vincenzo Scrutinio
  42. Effect of Universal TB Vaccination and Other Policy-Relevant Factors on the Probability of Patient Death from COVID-19 By Amos Golan; Tinatin Mumladze; Danielle Wilson; Elissa Cohen; Troy McGuinness; William Mooney; Jisung Moon
  43. Pandemics Change Cities: Municipal Spending and Voter Extremism in Germany, 1918-1933 By Kristian S. Blickle
  44. Covid-19 vs. Ebola: impact on households and SMEs in Nord Kivu, DR Congo By Desbureaux, Sébastien; Kaota, Audacieux; Lunanga, Elie; Stoop, Nik; Verpoorten, Marijke
  45. Diabolic dilemmas of COVID-19: An empirical study into Dutch society’s trade-offs between health impacts and other effects of the lockdown By Chorus, Caspar; Sandorf, Erlend Dancke; Mouter, Niek
  46. Does Debunking Work? Correcting COVID-19 Misinformation on Social Media By Caulfield, Timothy
  47. The Macroeconomics of Testing and Quarantining By Eichenbaum, Martin; Rebelo, Sérgio; Trabandt, Mathias
  48. The Sooner, the Better : The Early Economic Impact of Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions during the COVID-19 Pandemic By Demirguc-Kunt,Asli; Lokshin,Michael M.; Torre,Ivan
  49. Corona Fatality Development and the Environment: Empirical Evidence for OECD Countries By Lucas Bretschger; Elise Grieg; Paul J.J. Welfens; Tian Xiong
  50. Women’s Work, Housework and Childcare, Before and During COVID-19 By Daniela Del Boca; Noemi Oggero; Paola Profeta; Maria Cristina Rossi

  1. By: Gathmann, Christina; Huttunen, Kristiina; Jernström, Laura; Sääksvuori, Lauri; Stitzing, Robin
    Abstract: We study how a negative labor market shock like job loss generates health spillovers in couples. Using administrative data of all workers and firms matched to mortality and patient records, we document that male job displacement increases the mortality risk for both the man and his partner. For every 10,000 displaced men, there are 27 additional deaths over a 5-year period rising to 115 additional deaths over two decades. Of those, 60% accrue to the displaced worker but 40% are due to excess spousal mortality. Deaths from cardiovascular diseases jump up and hospitalization records show more treatments for alcohol-related disorders and mental health issues. We also find a stunning gender asymmetry: while male job displacement generates large and persistent health effects, no such dire health consequences are observed after a woman loses her job. We explore three explanations for the observed health spillovers: risk sharing through spousal labor supply; earnings losses and the role of public insurance; and the influence of gender roles and family structure.
    Keywords: job displacement, mortality, spillovers, added worker, public insurance, gender roles, Local public finance and provision of public services, I14, J21, J63, J12, D13,
    Date: 2020
  2. By: Sofia Amaral-Garcia
    Abstract: Medical device companies may play a role in the type of treatments provided to patients, namely by influencing physicians to use their products. Physicians interact frequently with medical device representatives, which raises concerns that these relationships might bias healthcare providers. Using data on payments from medical device companies to physicians combined with hospital discharge datasets, I assess the impact of payments on medical treatments. The specific setting of this study is treatment provided to heart attack patients arriving at the Emergency Room (ER) in Florida hospitals. Using an instrumental variables approach, I find that patients treated by doctors who interact with the industry are more likely to receive an invasive procedure. I find no significant impact on healthcare outcomes. However, interactions result in higher medical device costs (up to 16% increase) and total hospital costs (up to 3% increase). The results can have implications for the design of regulations on physician-industry interactions.
    JEL: I10
    Date: 2020–06
  3. By: Saporta-Eksten, Itay; Shurtz, Ity; Weisburd, Sarit
    Abstract: We study the effects of public pension systems on the retirement timing of older workers and, in turn, the health consequences of delaying retirement by those workers. Causal inference relies on a social security reform in Israel that shifted payments from husbands to their (non-working) wives, thereby substantially reducing the implied tax on the husband's employment while keeping overall household wealth constant. Using administrative social security data, we estimate extensive-margin labor supply elasticities w.r.t. the average net-of-tax rate of about 0.43 for men over 65. Using the reform to instrument for employment, we find that working an additional full year at old age decreases longevity. This mortality effect occurs after age 75 and is driven by workers holding blue-collar jobs. Finally, we evaluate the effect of the reform on earnings. The results imply a small value for an additional year of life, suggesting that workers underestimate the health cost of employment at older ages.
    Keywords: health; Labor Supply; Mortality; Social Security; tax reform
    JEL: H31 J10 J22 J26
    Date: 2020–05
  4. By: Alexander Ahammer; Analisa Packham (Economics Department at Vanderbilt University)
    Abstract: Using administrative data for Upper Austrian workers from 2003–2013, we show that an extension in unemployment insurance (UI) duration increases unemployment length and impacts worker physical and mental health. These effects vary by gender. Specifically, we find that women eligible for an additional 9 weeks of UI benefits fill fewer opioid and antidepressant prescriptions and experience a lower likelihood of filing a disability claim, as compared to non-eligible unemployed women. Moreover, estimates indicate within-household spillovers for young children. For men, we find that extending UI benefit duration increases the likelihood of a cardiac event and eventual disability retirement filing.
    Keywords: I38, I18, J18
    Date: 2020–06
  5. By: Battistin, Erich; Lamarche, Carlos; Rettore, Enrico
    Abstract: We offer a new strategy to identify the distribution of treatment effects using the Infant Health and Development Program (IHDP), a relatively understudied intervention for low birth-weight infants. We introduce a new policy parameter, QCD, denoting quantiles of the effect distribution conditional on latent neonatal health. The dependence between potential outcomes originates from a new class of factor models where latent health can affect the location and shape of distributions. We show that QCD depends on the marginal distributions of potential outcomes given latent health and achieve identification of these distributions by proxying latent health with neonatal anthropometrics and accounting for measurement error in the proxies. The effects of IHDP are widely distributed across children and depend on neonatal health. Moreover, the large average effects documented in past work for close to normal birth weight children from low-income families are driven by a minority of children in this group.
    Keywords: Early Childhood; factor models; Quantile regression; Treatment Effect Distributions
    JEL: C13 C21 I14 J18
    Date: 2020–05
  6. By: Le, Kien; Nguyen, My
    Abstract: This paper investigates the intergenerational effects of maternal education on child health in 68 developing countries across five continents over nearly three decades. Exploiting the between-sisters variation in the educational attainment of the mothers, we find that mother’s education is positively associated with child health measured by the three most commonly used indices, namely height-for-age, weight-for-height, and weight-for-age. Our mechanism analyses further show that these favorable effects could be, at least in part, attributed to fertility behavior, assortative matching, health care utilization, access to information, health knowledge, and labor market outcome. Given the long-lasting impacts of early-life health over the life cycle, our findings underline the importance of maternal education in improving economic and social conditions in developing countries.
    Keywords: Maternal Education, Child Health, Anthropometry, Developing Countries
    JEL: I10 I26 O15
    Date: 2019
  7. By: Lara Cockx (Department of Economics, Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan); Giulia Meloni (LICOS Center for Institutions and Economic Performance & Department of Economics, University of Leuven (KU Leuven), Belgium); Johan Swinnen (LICOS Center for Institutions and Economic Performance & Department of Economics, University of Leuven (KU Leuven), Belgium)
    Abstract: Spirits represent around 50% of global alcohol consumption. This sector is much less studied than other alcohol beverages such as wine or beer. This paper reviews the economic history of spirits and analyses recent trends in the spirits markets. The technology to produce spirits is more complex than for wine or beer. Distillation was known in ancient Chinese, Indian, Greek and Egyptian societies, but it took innovations by the Arabs to distil alcohol. Initially this alcohol was used for medicinal purposes. Only in the middle ages did spirits become a widespread drink and did commercial production and markets. The Industrial Revolution created a large consumer market and reduced the cost of spirits, contributing to excess consumption and alcoholism. Governments have intervened extensively in spirits markets to reduce excessive consumption and to raise taxes. There have been significant changes in spirits consumption and trade over time. Over the past 50 years, the share of spirits in global alcohol consumption increased from around 30% to around 50%. In the past decades, there was strong growth in emerging markets, including in China and India. The spirits industry has concentrated, but less so than e.g. the brewery industry. Recent developments in the spirits industry include premiumization, the growth of craft spirits and the introduction of terroir for spirits.
    Keywords: Spirits; distillation technology; globalization and convergence of alcohol preferences; alcohol and health; alcohol regulations; craft and industry concentration
    Date: 2019–11
  8. By: Colin P. Green; Luke Wilson; Anwen Zhang
    Abstract: A growing body of research demonstrates marked labour market benefits from physical attractiveness. Yet, how physical attractiveness influences earlier consequential decisions is not well understood. This paper estimates the effect of attractiveness in adolescence on one set of consequential outcomes, engagement in risky behaviours. We find robust evidence of marked effects of teenage attractiveness across a range of risky behaviours, including underage drinking, smoking, substance abuse and teenage sexual activity. More attractive individuals are more likely to engage in underage drinking, but markedly less likely to smoke or to be sexually active. Mediation analysis reveals that popularity, self-esteem, and personality attractiveness have roles as underlying mechanisms, yet substantial direct effects of physical attractiveness remain. Our findings suggest physical attractiveness in adolescence carries long-lasting consequences over the life course.
    Keywords: beauty, risky behaviours, adolescent development
    JEL: I12 J10
    Date: 2019–10
  9. By: Matthew W. Ridley; Gautam Rao; Frank Schilbach; Vikram H. Patel
    Abstract: Why are people living in poverty disproportionately affected by mental illness? We review the interdisciplinary evidence of the bi-directional causal relationship between poverty and common mental illnesses — depression and anxiety — and the underlying mechanisms. Research shows that mental illness reduces employment and therefore income and that psychological interventions generate economic gains. Similarly, negative economic shocks cause mental illness, and anti-poverty programs such as cash transfers improve mental health. A crucial next step toward the design of effective policies is to better understand the mechanisms underlying these causal effects.
    JEL: D03 I1 I3 O1
    Date: 2020–05
  10. By: Jacopo Bonan; Pietro Battiston; Jaimie Bleck; Philippe LeMay-Boucher; Stefano Pareglio; Bassirou Sarr; Massimo Tavoni
    Abstract: Easy-to-use and risk-free technologies, which require little investment and potentially provide health and environmental benefits, often have low adoption rates. Using a randomized experiment in urban Mali, we assess the impact of a training session in which information on an improved cookstove (ICS) is provided along with the opportunity to purchase the product at the market price. We find direct and spillover effects from our invitation to the session on ICS ownership and usage. We then randomly assign half of the training participants to receive information on a peer's actual purchase. Our results indicate that conditional on receiving information, an individual is more likely to adopt the product if informed about a peer they know and who purchased the product. Our sessions have no discernible impact on product knowledge or household welfare. We argue that social interaction, through imitation, can represent an important channel for increasing take-up and diffusion.
    Keywords: Technology Adoption, Social Interaction, Imitation Effects, Cookstoves, Mali
    JEL: D91 O33 O13 M31
    Date: 2020–05
  11. By: Espinet Alegre,Xavier; Stanton-Geddes,Zuzana; Aliyev,Sadig
    Abstract: Transport connectivity in Cambodia is challenged by its geography and exposure to recurrent flooding. Flood events create severe disruptions in segments of the transport network that undermine access to health, education, and work opportunities as well as create barriers to economic growth. Rural accessibility to emergency health facilities and delivery of medicines and basic food supplies is particularly critical in times of major health crises, such as the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. This paper provides a method to quantify the impact of flooding on hospital access and other critical facilities, aiming to support governments on setting up health emergency mitigation plans for rural transport in an environment with high flood risk. The method was piloted in three provinces in rural Cambodia, estimating that for 37 percent of the people on those provinces, it takes more than 60 minutes to reach an emergency health facility. During floods, 27 percent lose all access and 18 percent experience an increase of 30 minutes in travel time. In conclusion, this method introduces transparency and evidence-based support for prioritization of rural transport investment, identifies the social benefits (health and education) of rural infrastructure investments, and supports policy dialogue on rural development and resilience.
    Date: 2020–05–28
  12. By: Rossi, Pauline; Villar, Paola
    Abstract: This study exploits the introduction of high subsidies for anti-malaria products in Senegal in 2009 to investigate whether malaria prevents parents from investing in child health. A simple model of health investments under competing mortality risks predicts that private expenses to fight malaria and other diseases should increase in response to anti-malaria public interventions. We test and validate this prediction using original panel data from a household expenditure survey combined with geographical information on malaria prevalence. We find that health expenditures in malarious regions catch up with non-malarious regions. The same result holds for parental health-seeking behavior against other diseases like diarrhea. These patterns cannot be explained by differential trends between regions. Our results suggest that behavioral responses to anti-malaria campaigns magnify their impact on all-cause mortality for children.
    Keywords: Africa; Competing Risks; Health expenses; Human Capital; Malaria
    JEL: D1 H51 I1 J13 O15
    Date: 2020–05
  13. By: Ding, L.; Jones, A.M.; Nie, P.
    Abstract: We present a comprehensive analysis of ex ante inequality of opportunity (IOp) in health among Chinese adults aged 60+ and decompose the contributions of different sets of circumstances. Data are drawn from the 2011 and 2015 waves of the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS) linked with the 2014 CHARLS Life History Survey. We use a range of blood-based biomarkers, and apply a re-centered influence function (RIF) approach and a Shapley-Shorrocks decomposition to partition the contribution of circumstances across different quantiles of the biomarker distributions. We find that IOp accounts for between 3.75% and 29.57% of total health inequality in old age across the range of biomarkers. Shapley-Shorrocks decompositions show that spatial circumstances such as urban/rural residence and province of residence are the dominant determinants of IOp for most of the biomarkers. Distributional decompositions further reveal that the relative contributions to IOp in health of household socioeconomic status and health and nutrition conditions in childhood increase towards the right tails of the distribution for most of the biomarkers, where the clinical risk is focused.
    Keywords: biomarkers; CHARLS; China; inequality of opportunity; Shapley-Shorrocks decomposition; unconditional quantile regressions;
    JEL: D63 I12 I14
    Date: 2020–06
  14. By: Brotherhood, Luiz; Kircher, Philipp; Santos, Cezar; Tertilt, Michèle
    Abstract: This paper investigates the role of testing and age-composition in the Covid-19 epidemic. We augment a standard SIR epidemiological model with individual choices regarding how much time to spend working and consuming outside the house, both of which increase the risk of transmission. Individuals who have flu symptoms are unsure whether they caught Covid-19 or simply a common cold. Testing reduces the time of uncertainty. Individuals are heterogeneous with respect to age. Younger people are less likely to die, exacerbating their willingness to take risks and to impose externalities on the old. We explore heterogeneous policy responses in terms of testing, confinements, and selective mixing by age group.
    Keywords: age-specific policies; COVID-19; social distancing; Testing
    JEL: C63 D62 E17 I10 I18
    Date: 2020–05
  15. By: Andrew Glover; Jonathan Heathcote; Dirk Krueger; Jose-Victor Rios-Rull
    Abstract: To slow the spread of COVID-19, many countries are shutting down non-essential sectors of the economy. Older individuals have the most to gain from slowing virus diffusion. Younger workers in sectors that are shuttered have the most to lose. In this paper, we build a model in which economic activity and disease progression are jointly determined. Individuals differ by age (young and retired), by sector (basic and luxury), and by health status. Disease transmission occurs in the workplace, in consumption activities, at home, and in hospitals. We study the optimal economic mitigation policy of a utilitarian government that can redistribute across individuals, but where such redistribution is costly. We show that optimal redistribution and mitigation policies interact, and reflect a compromise between the strongly diverging preferred policy paths of different subgroups of the population. We find that the shutdown in place on April 12 is too extensive, but that a partial shutdown should remain in place through July.
    Keywords: Economic policy; COVID-19; Redistribution
    Date: 2020–04–20
  16. By: Charles F. Manski; Aleksey Tetenov
    Abstract: As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, researchers are reporting findings of randomized trials comparing standard care with care augmented by experimental drugs. The trials have small sample sizes, so estimates of treatment effects are imprecise. Seeing imprecision, clinicians reading research articles may find it difficult to decide when to treat patients with experimental drugs. Whatever decision criterion one uses, there is always some probability that random variation in trial outcomes will lead to prescribing sub-optimal treatments. A conventional practice when comparing standard care and an innovation is to choose the innovation only if the estimated treatment effect is positive and statistically significant. This practice defers to standard care as the status quo. To evaluate decision criteria, we use the concept of near-optimality, which jointly considers the probability and magnitude of decision errors. An appealing decision criterion from this perspective is the empirical success rule, which chooses the treatment with the highest observed average patient outcome in the trial. Considering the design of recent and ongoing COVID-19 trials, we show that the empirical success rule yields treatment results that are much closer to optimal than those generated by prevailing decision criteria based on hypothesis tests.
    Date: 2020–05
  17. By: Dave, Dhaval M. (Bentley University); Friedson, Andrew I. (University of Colorado Denver); Matsuzawa, Kyutaro (San Diego State University); Sabia, Joseph J. (San Diego State University); Safford, Samuel (San Diego State University)
    Abstract: One of the most common policy prescriptions to reduce the spread of COVID-19 has been to legally enforce social distancing through state or local shelter-in-place orders (SIPOs). This paper is the first to explore the comparative effectiveness of early county-level SIPOs versus later statewide mandates in curbing COVID-19 growth. We exploit the unique laboratory of Texas, a state in which the early adoption of local SIPOs by densely populated counties covered almost two-thirds of the state's population prior to Texas's adoption of a statewide SIPO on April 2, 2020. Using an event study framework, we document that countywide SIPO adoption is associated with a 14 percent increase in the percent of residents who remain at home full-time, a social distancing effect that is largest in urbanized and densely populated counties. Then, we find that in early adopting counties, COVID-19 case growth fell by 19 to 26 percentage points two-and-a-half weeks following adoption, a result robust to controls for county-level heterogeneity in outbreak timing, coronavirus testing, and border SIPO policies. This effect is driven nearly entirely by highly urbanized and densely populated counties. In total, we find that approximately 90 percent of the curbed growth in statewide COVID-19 cases in Texas came from the early adoption of SIPOs by urbanized counties. These results suggest that the later statewide mandate yielded relatively few health benefits.
    Keywords: coronavirus, shelter-in-place orders, COVID-19, urbanicity, population density
    JEL: H75 I18
    Date: 2020–05
  18. By: gregory, paul
    Abstract: The Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918-19 is the closest historical parallel to today’s Coronavirus pandemic. Its demographic aspects have been studied in detail, but the huge economic losses of Coronavirus have motivated researchers to pin down the economic costs of the Spanish Flu. The growing literature focuses on the US and uses city and state data to extract its costs with contradictory results. This paper uses historical statistics on GDP and industrial production to assess the economic costs of the Spanish Flu on the US, European, and UK economies. We find relatively small economic effects with the possible exception of the UK. Pandemics affect economic activity through human capital losses, voluntary changes in behavior to avoid infection, and state-decreed measures. The first two channels can produce economic effects similar to a substantial recession, but the third channel is required for the enormous economic losses we face today.
    Keywords: Spanish Flu, Angus Maddison, Kuznets, NPI
    JEL: N12 N13
    Date: 2020–05–04
  19. By: Abel Brodeur (University of Ottawa and IZA); Andrew Clark (Paris School of Economics - CNRS and IZA); Sarah Fleche (Aix-Marseille University, CNRS, EHESS, Centrale Marseille, Aix-Marseille School of Economics); Nattavudh Powdthavee (Warwick Business School and IZA)
    Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has led many governments to implement lockdowns. While lockdowns may help to contain the spread of the virus, they may result in substantial damage to population well-being. We use Google Trends data to test whether the lockdowns implemented in Europe and America led to changes in well-being related topic search terms. Using differences-in-differences and a regression discontinuity design to evaluate the causal effects of lockdown, we find a substantial increase in the search intensity for boredom in Europe and the US. We also found a significant increase in searches for loneliness, worry and sadness, while searches for stress, suicide and divorce on the contrary fell. Our results suggest that people's mental health may have been severely affected by the lockdown.
    Keywords: Boredom, COVID-19, Loneliness, Well-being.
    JEL: I12 I31 J22
    Date: 2020
  20. By: Armbruster, Stephanie; Klotzbücher, Valentin
    Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic and social-distancing and stay-at-home orders can directly affect mental health and quality of life. In this ongoing project, we analyze rich data from Telefonseelsorge, the largest German helpline service, to better understand the effect of the pandemic and of local lockdown measures on mental health-related helpline contacts. First, looking at Germany-wide changes, we find that overall helpline contacts increase by around 20% in the first week of the lockdown and slowly decrease again after the third lockdown week. Our results suggest that the increase is not driven by financial worries or fear of the virus itself, but reflects heightened loneliness, anxiety, and suicidal ideation. Second, we exploit spatial variation in policies among German federal states to assess whether the effect depends on the stringency of local measures. Preliminary evidence suggests that the average effect is more pronounced in states that implemented stricter measures.
    Keywords: COVID-19,Stay-at-Home Orders,Mental Health
    JEL: I12 I3
    Date: 2020
  21. By: Jarynowski, Andrzej; Płatek, Daniel
    Abstract: Around 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide celebrate in some extent the holy month of Ramadan during COVID-19 pandemic. Some increase their attendance worship sites and traditional dining in extended families, so infectious contact rates could increase. Moreover, fasting could increase the probability of acquiring SARS-CoV-2 infection. There are mitigation measures (e.g. Healthy Ramadan by WHO) applied to reduce the SARS-CoV-2 spread, however their real impact is still unknown. Multiple studies assessed observed effects of contact rates increase during holidays as Chinese New Year in January and Passover and Easter in April and their short-time effects on COVID-19 transmission dynamics. However, there are any quantitative attempts considering epidemiological consequences of the holy Ramadan (at least up to our knowledge and keywords search in various databases until the submission day). We analyze the fractions of Muslims and time series of COVID-19 daily incidence and cases numbers for 197 countries and territories. We found statistically significant positive link with proportion of Islam adherents with increase in normalized new cases of COVID-19 during 1-18 May 2020. Moreover, growth of incidences in May is statistically significantly greater than in a control (April).
    Date: 2020–05–21
  22. By: Bodenstein, Martin; Corsetti, Giancarlo; Guerrieri, Luca
    Abstract: Drastic public health measures such as social distancing or lockdowns can reduce the loss of human life by keeping the number of infected individuals from exceeding the capacity of the health care system but are often criticized because of the social and the economic cost they entail. We question this view by combining an epidemiological model, calibrated to capture the spread of the COVID-19 virus, with a multisector model, designed to capture key characteristics of the U.S. Input Output Tables. Our two-sector model features a core sector that produces intermediate inputs not easily replaced by inputs from the other sector, subject to minimum-scale requirements. We show that, by affecting workers in this core sector, the high peak of an infection not mitigated by social distancing may cause very large upfront economic costs in terms of output, consumption and investment. Social distancing measures can reduce these costs, especially if skewed towards non-core industries and occupations with tasks that can be performed from home, helping to smooth the surge in infections among workers in the core sector.
    Keywords: COVID-19; Epidemic; Infectious disease; Recession
    JEL: E1 E3 I1
    Date: 2020–05
  23. By: Cristina Arellano; Yan Bai; Gabriel Mihalache
    Abstract: The COVID-19 epidemic in emerging markets risks a combined health, economic, and debt crisis. We integrate a standard epidemiology model into a sovereign default model and study how default risk impacts the ability of these countries to respond to the epidemic. Lockdown policies are useful for alleviating the health crisis but they carry large economic costs and can generate costly and prolonged debt crises. The possibility of lockdown induced debt crises in turn results in less aggressive lockdowns and a more severe health crisis. We find that the social value of debt relief can be substantial because it can prevent the debt crisis and can save lives.
    Keywords: Default risk; Pandemic mitigation; Sovereign debt; Partial default; Debt relief; COVID-19
    JEL: E52 F34 F41
    Date: 2020–05–22
  24. By: Pinka Chatterji; Yue Li
    Abstract: There is growing concern that the COVID-19 pandemic may have severe, adverse effects on the health care sector, a sector of the economy that historically has been somewhat shielded from the business cycle. In this paper, we study one aspect of this issue by estimating the magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic on use of outpatient health services. We use 2010-2020 data from the Outpatient Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network (ILINet). Our findings indicate that the COVID-19 pandemic is associated with about a 67 percent decline in the total number of outpatient visits per provider by the week of April 12-18th, 2020 relative to the same week in prior years. Effects become apparent earlier in the pandemic for outpatient visits for non-flu symptoms, but we find negative effects on outpatient visits for flu symptoms as well.
    JEL: I0
    Date: 2020–05
  25. By: Bartscher, Alina Kristin; Seitz, Sebastian; Slotwinski, Michaela; Wehrhöfer, Nils; Siegloch, Sebastian
    Abstract: We explore the role of social capital in the spread of the recent Covid-19 pan­demic in independent analyses for Austria, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Swe­den, Switzerland and the UK. We exploit within-country variation in social capital and Covid-19 cases to show that high-social-capital areas accumulated between 12% and 32% fewer Covid-19 cases per capita from mid-March until mid-May. Using Italy as a case study, we find that high-social-capital areas exhibit lower excess mortality and a decline in mobility. Our results have important implications for the design of local containment policies in future waves of the pandemic.
    Keywords: Covid-19,social capital,collective action,health costs,Europe
    JEL: D04 A13 D91 H11 H12 I10 I18
    Date: 2020
  26. By: Andrea Aspri; Elena Beretta; Alberto Gandolfi; Etienne Wasmer
    Abstract: We adapt a SEIRD differential model with asymptomatic population and Covid deaths, which we call SEAIRD, to simulate the evolution of COVID-19, and add a control function affecting both the diffusion of the virus and GDP, featuring all direct and indirect containment policies; to model feasibility, the control is assumed to be a piece-wise linear function satisfying additional constraints. We describe the joint dynamics of infection and the economy and discuss the trade-off between production and fatalities. In particular, we carefully study the conditions for the existence of the optimal policy response and its uniqueness. Uniqueness crucially depends on the marginal rate of substitution between the statistical value of a human life and GDP; we show an example with a phase transition: above a certain threshold, there is a unique optimal containment policy; below the threshold, it is optimal to abstain from any containment; and at the threshold itself there are two optimal policies. We then explore and evaluate various profiles of various control policies dependent on a small number of parameters.
    Date: 2020–05
  27. By: Deserranno, Erika; Qian, Nancy
    Abstract: We document that in poor rural communities where government workers provide basic health services, the entry of an NGO that aims to provide similar services reduces the supply of government workers and total services. This is consistent with the NGO providing the combination of higher pay and stronger incentives for commercial activities. The decline in health services is most pronounced in villages where the NGO hires the government worker, and is accompanied by an increase in infant mortality. In villages without any health worker beforehand, NGO entry unambiguously increases health services and reduces infant mortality.
    Keywords: Aid effectiveness; foreign aid
    JEL: O1 O2
    Date: 2020–05
  28. By: Colvin, Christopher L.; McLaughlin, Eoin
    Abstract: Using the Irish experience of the Spanish flu, we demonstrate that pandemic mortality statistics are sensitive to the demographic composition of a country. We build a new demographic database for Ireland's 32 counties with vital statistics on births, ageing, migration and deaths. We then show how age-at-death statistics in 1918 and 1919 should be reinterpreted in light of these data. Our new estimates suggest the very young were most impacted by the flu. New studies of the economic impact of Influenza-18 must better control for demographic factors if they are to yield useful policy-relevant results. Covid-19 mortality statistics must go through a similar procedure so policymakers can better target their public health interventions.
    Keywords: demographic economics,pandemics,age-adjusted mortality,Spanish flu,Ireland
    JEL: N34 I18 Q54
    Date: 2020
  29. By: Davillas, A.; Jones, A.M.
    Abstract: We use data from Wave 9 of UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS) and the April 2020 Wave of the UKHLS COVID-19 survey to compare measures of ex ante inequality of opportunity (IOp) in psychological distress, as measured by the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ), before (Wave 9) and at the initial peak (April 2020) of the pandemic. Based on a Caseness measure, the prevalence of psychological distress increases from 18.3% to 28.3% between Wave 9 and April 2020. Also, there is a systematic increase in total inequality in the Likert GHQ-12 score. However, measures of IOp have not increased. Specifically, the proportion of total inequality attributed to circumstances has declined, consistent with the notion that the pandemic is, to some extent, a leveller as far as psychological distress is considered. A Shapley-Shorrocks decomposition analysis shows that in the pre-COVID-19 period the largest contributors to IOp were financial strain, employment status and housing conditions. In contrast, in April 2020, these factors decline in their shares and age and gender now account for a larger share. The contribution of working in an industry related to the COVID-19 response plays a small role at Wave 9, but more than triples its share in April 2020. Household composition and parental occupation also increase their shares during the pandemic.
    Keywords: COVID-19; inequality of opportunity; GHQ; mental health; psychological distress;
    JEL: C1 D63 I12 I14
    Date: 2020–06
  30. By: Couch, Kenneth A. (University of Connecticut); Fairlie, Robert W. (University of California, Santa Cruz); Xu, Huanan (Indiana University)
    Abstract: COVID-19 abruptly impacted the labor market with the unemployment rate jumping to 14.7 percent less than two months after state governments began adopting social distancing measures. Unemployment of this magnitude has not been seen since the Great Depression. This paper provides the first study of how the pandemic impacted minority unemployment using CPS microdata through April 2020. African-Americans experienced an increase in unemployment to 16.6 percent, less than anticipated based on previous recessions. In contrast, Latinx, with an unemployment rate of 18.2 percent, were disproportionately hard hit by COVID-19. Adjusting for concerns of the BLS regarding misclassification of unemployment, we create an upper-bound measure of the national unemployment rate of 26.5 percent, which is higher than the peak observed in the Great Depression. The April 2020 upper-bound unemployment rates are an alarming 31.8 percent for blacks and 31.4 percent for Latinx. Difference-in-difference estimates suggest that blacks were, at most, only slightly disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Non-linear decomposition estimates indicate that a slightly favorable industry distribution partly protected them being hit harder by COVID-19. The most impacted group are Latinx. Difference-in-difference estimates unequivocally indicate that Latinx were disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. An unfavorable occupational distribution and lower skills contributed to why Latinx experienced much higher unemployment rates than whites. These findings of early impacts of COVID-19 on unemployment raise important concerns about long-term economic effects for minorities.
    Keywords: unemployment, inequality, labor, race, minorities, COVID-19, coronavirus, shelter-in-place, social distancing
    JEL: J6 J7 J15
    Date: 2020–05
  31. By: Etheridge, Ben; Spantig, Lisa
    Abstract: We document a decline in mental well-being after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK. This decline is twice as large for women as for men. We seek to explain this gender gap by exploring gender differences in: family and caring responsibilities; financial and work situation; social engagement; health situation, and health behaviours, including exercise. Differences in family and caring responsibilities play some role, but the bulk of the gap is explained by social factors. Women reported more close friends before the pandemic than men, and increased loneliness after the pandemic's onset. Other factors are similarly distributed across genders and so play little role. Finally, we document larger declines in well-being for the young, of both genders, than the old.
    Date: 2020–06–08
  32. By: Giorgos Baskozos; Giorgos Galanis; Corrado Di Guilmi
    Abstract: We present an epidemic model in which heterogenous agents choose whether to enact social distancing practices. The policy maker decides on the timing and the extent of policies that incentivise social distancing. We evaluate the consequences of interventions and find that: (i) the timing of intervention is paramount in slowing the contagion, and (ii) a delay cannot be compensated by stronger measures.
    Date: 2020–04
  33. By: Chicoine, Luke; Lyons, Emily; Sahue, Alexia
    Abstract: The risk of AIDS-related mortality increased dramatically throughout the 1990s. This paper updates previous work by Fortson (2011) to examine the impact of mortality risk on human capital investment during the deadliest period of the pandemic. We combine Demographic Health Survey data from 30 countries, across 60 survey waves, to generate a sample of over 1,300,000 observations. Cohort-specific analysis using the updated sample yields new evidence that the negative relationship between HIV prevalence and schooling steepened as mortality risk increased. The reduction in schooling is largest for women, and along the extensive margin of the schooling decision. The findings indicate that the decline in human capital investment associated with the HIV/AIDS pandemic prior to the availability of treatment was larger in magnitude than previously understood, but may be reversing rapidly as access to treatment is expanded.
    Keywords: HIV/AIDS; mortality risk; schooling
    JEL: I15 I25 O55
    Date: 2020–05
  34. By: Asanov,Igor; Flores,Francisco; Mckenzie,David J.; Mensmann,Mona; Schulte,Mathis
    Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has closed schools around the world, forcing school systems and students to quickly attempt remote learning. A rapid response phone survey of over 1,500 high school students aged 14 to 18 in Ecuador was conducted to learn how students spend their time during the period of quarantine, examine their access to remote learning, and measure their mental health status. The data show that 59 percent of students have both an internet connection at home and a computer or tablet, 74 percent are engaging in some online or telelearning, and 86 percent have done some schoolwork on the last weekday. Detailed time-use data show most students have established similar daily routines around education, although gender and wealth differences emerge in time spent working and on household tasks. Closure of schools and social isolation are the two main problems students say they face, and while the majority are mostly happy, 16 percent have mental health scores that indicate depression.
    Keywords: Health Care Services Industry,Educational Sciences,Mental Health,Gender and Development,Educational Institutions&Facilities,Effective Schools and Teachers
    Date: 2020–05–19
  35. By: Louis-Marie Harpedanne de Belleville (Banque de France - Banque de France - Banque de France, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, PSE - Paris School of Economics)
    Abstract: What can be done to slow contagion when unidentified healthy carriers are contagious, total isolation is impossible, cleaning capacities are constrained, contamination parameters and even contamination channels are uncertain? Short answer: reduce variance. I study mathematical properties of contagion when many people share successively a limited number of devices (e.g. restrooms, which have been identified as a potential contamination channel for COVID19) and may get contaminated if the device has been used by an unidentified already contaminated person. I show that the number of exposures is a convex function of the number n of people using the device between two cleanings. As a direct application of Jensen inequality, contamination can be reduced at no cost by limiting the variance of n. These results are qualitatively robust to large changes in parameters, which is relevant in contexts of high uncertainty. The gains from an optimal use and cleaning of the devices can be substantial in this baseline framework: with a 1% proportion of (unknown) contaminated people, cleaning one device after 5 uses and the other after 15 uses increases contamination by 26 % with respect to the optimal organization (cleaning each device after 10 uses). The relative gains decrease when the proportion of spreaders increases. The absolute gains reach a peak for a low proportion of contaminated people, especially when the cleaning capacities are highly constrained. Thus, optimal organization is more beneficial at the beginning of an epidemic, providing additional reason for early action during an epidemic (the traditional reason, which is first-order, is that contamination is approximately exponential over the expansion phase of an epidemic). These convexity results extend only partially to simultaneous use situations, since the exposure function becomes concave above a threshold which decreases with the proportion of spreaders. Still, reducing convexity is beneficial overall. If the number of spreaders affects the probability of contamination, relative effects of better organization can be much larger than in the baseline framework. Eventually, reducing variance makes it possible to slow contamination during an existing epidemic, not to reduce the probability of an outbreak when only a handful cases exist.
    Keywords: Epidemic,Coronavirus,contagion,spreader,cleaning,restroom,successive use,healthy carrier,asymptomatic transmission,airborne transmission,fomite,geometric distribution,binomial distribution,convexity
    Date: 2020–04–10
  36. By: Fernández-Villaverde, Jesús; Jones, Charles I
    Abstract: We use data on deaths in New York City, various U.S. states, and various countries around the world to estimate a standard epidemiological model of COVID-19. We allow for a time-varying contact rate in order to capture behavioral and policy-induced changes associated with social distancing. We simulate the model forward to consider possible futures for various countries, states, and cities, including the potential impact of herd immunity on re-opening. Our current baseline mortality rate (IFR) is assumed to be 0.8% but we recognize there is substantial uncertainty about this number. Our model fits the death data equally well with alternative mortality rates of 0.3% or 1.0%, so this parameter is unidentified in our data. However, its value matters enormously for the extent to which various places can relax social distancing without spurring a resurgence of deaths.
    Keywords: COVID-19; estimation; SIRD model
    JEL: C52 I10
    Date: 2020–05
  37. By: Shoji, Masahiro; Cato, Susumu; Iida, Takashi; Ishida, Kenji; Ito, Asei; McElwain, Kenneth
    Abstract: Do people keep social distance to mitigate the infection risk of COVID-19, even without aggressive policy interventions? The Japanese government did not restrict individuals’ activities despite the early confirmation of infections, and as a result, economic damages were limited in the initial stage of infection spread. Exploiting these features, we examine the association between the subsequent increase in infections and voluntary social-distancing behavior. Using unique monthly panel survey data, we find that the increase in risk is associated with the likelihood of social-distancing behavior. However, those with lower educational attainment are less responsive, implying their higher exposure to infections. We provide evidence that this can be attributed to their underestimation of infection risk, while we cannot fully rule out the roles of income opportunity costs and poor information access. These results suggest the utility of interventions incorporating nudges to raise risk perception, as well as financial support for low-income households.
    Keywords: COVID-19; pandemic; social distancing; risk perception; nudge
    JEL: I12 I14 I18
    Date: 2020–05–28
  38. By: Alex Proshin (PSE - Paris School of Economics, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)
    Abstract: This study evaluates the impact of introducing Maternity Capital (MC) program child subsidy of 250,000 Rub (7,150 euros or 10,000 USD, in 2007) for giving birth to /adopting 2nd and subsequent children since January 2007. The reform made it possible for eligible Russian families to allocate these funds to improve family housing conditions, to sponsor children education, or to invest them in mother's retirement fund. The objective of this study is to evaluate the impact of the MC claim eligibility on various child outcomes and household-level consumption patterns. Using data from representative Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey 2011-2017, I test regression discontinuity models and find no significant difference in health, educational and well-being outcomes between children raised in MC claim eligible and ineligible families. In addition, no such differences were found in terms of household-level dietary habits and preferences. The results are robust to different and functional, semi- and non-parametric RDD specifications.
    Keywords: child subsidy,child outcomes,Maternity Capital,regression discontinuity
    Date: 2020–05
  39. By: Benoit Decerf (University of Namur); Francisco H. G. Ferreira (World Bank); Daniel G. Mahler (World Bank); Olivier Sterck (University of Oxford)
    Abstract: This paper evaluates the global welfare consequences of increases in mortality and poverty generated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Increases in mortality are measured in terms of the number of years of life lost (LY) to the pandemic. Additional years spent in poverty (PY) are conservatively estimated using growth estimates for 2020 and two different scenarios for its distributional characteristics. Using years of life as a welfare metric yields a single parameter that captures the underlying trade-off between lives and livelihoods: how many PYs have the same welfare cost as one LY. Taking an agnostic view of this parameter, estimates of LYs and PYs are compared across countries for different scenarios. Three main findings arise. First, as of early June 2020, the pandemic (and the observed private and policy responses) has generated at least 68 million additional poverty years and 4.3 million years of life lost across 150 countries. The ratio of PYs to LYs is very large in most countries, suggesting that the poverty consequences of the crisis are of paramount importance. Second, this ratio declines systematically with GDP per capita: poverty accounts for a much greater share of the welfare costs in poorer countries. Finally, the dominance of poverty over mortality is reversed in a counterfactual ``herd immunity" scenario: without any policy intervention, LYs tend to be greater than PYs, and the overall welfare losses are greater.
    Keywords: Covid-19; welfare; poverty; mortality.
    JEL: D63 I15 I32 O15
    Date: 2020–06
  40. By: Assenza, Tiziana; Collard, Fabrice; Dupaigne, Martial; Fève, Patrick; Hellwig, Christian; Kankanamge, Sumudu; Werquin, Nicolas
    Abstract: We develop a comprehensive framework for analyzing optimal economic policy during a pandemic crisis in a dynamic economic model that trades off pandemic-induced mortality costs against the adverse economic impact of policy interventions. We use the comparison between the planner problem and the dynamic decentralized equilibrium to highlight the margins of policy intervention and describe optimal policy actions. As our main conclusion, we provide a strong and novel economic justification for the current approach to dealing with the pandemic, which is different from the existing health policy rationales. This justification is based on a simple economic concept, the shadow price of infection risks, which succinctly captures the static and dynamic trade-offs and externalities between economic prosperity and mortality risk as the pandemic unfolds.
    Keywords: optimal policy; pandemic crisis
    JEL: E1 H0 I1
    Date: 2020–05
  41. By: Edoardo Di Porto (Università di Napoli, INPS and CSEF.); Paolo Naticchioni (Università di Roma Tre, INPS, AIEL and IZA); Vincenzo Scrutinio (Centre for Economic Performance, IZA and Università di Bologna)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the effect of the lockdown on COVID-19 infections. After the 22nd of March 2020, the Italian government shut down many economic activities to limit the contagion. Sectors deemed essentials for the economy were, however, allowed to remain active. We exploit the distribution of the density of essential workers across provinces and rich administrative data in a difference in difference framework. We find that a standard deviation increase in essential workers per square kilometre leads to an additional daily registered case per 100,000 inhabitants. This is a sizeable impact, and it represents about 18% of the daily increase in COVID-19 cases after the 22nd of March. Back of envelope computations suggest that the about one third of the cases considered could be attributed to the less stringent lockdown for essential sectors, with an additional 107 million Euros in direct expenditure. Although this assessment should be taken with caution, this suggests that the less stringent lockdown came at moderate public health related economic costs. In addition, we find that these effects are heterogeneous across sectors, with services having a much larger impact than Manufacturing, while there are only small differences across geographic areas. These results are stable across a wide range of specifications and robustness check.
    Keywords: COVID-19, lockdown, essential sectors
    JEL: J18 I18
    Date: 2020–06–12
  42. By: Amos Golan (American University and Santa Fe Institute); Tinatin Mumladze; Danielle Wilson; Elissa Cohen; Troy McGuinness; William Mooney; Jisung Moon
    Abstract: The possibility of reoccurring waves of the novel coronavirus that triggered the 2020 pandemic makes it critical to identify underlying policy-relevant factors that could be leveraged to decrease future COVID-19 death rates. We examined variation in a number of underlying, policy- relevant, country-level factors and COVID-19 death rates across countries. We found three such factors that significantly impact the survival probability of patients infected with COVID-19. In order of impact, these are universal TB (BCG) vaccination, air pollination deaths, and a health-related expenditure. We quantify each probability change by age and sex. To deal with small sample size and high correlations, we use an information-theoretic inferential method that also allows us to introduce priors constructed from independent SARS data.
    Keywords: BCG vaccine, coronavirus, COVID-19, health expenditure, inference, information theory, policy, pollution level
    JEL: I14 D82
    Date: 2020–05
  43. By: Kristian S. Blickle
    Abstract: We merge several historical data sets from Germany to show that influenza mortality in 1918-1920 is correlated with societal changes, as measured by municipal spending and city-level extremist voting, in the subsequent decade. First, influenza deaths are associated with lower per capita spending, especially on services consumed by the young. Second, influenza deaths are correlated with the share of votes received by extremist parties in 1932 and 1933. Our election results are robust to controlling for city spending, demographics, war-related population changes, city-level wages, and regional unemployment, and to instrumenting influenza mortality. We conjecture that our findings may be the consequence of long-term societal changes brought about by a pandemic.
    Keywords: influenza; pandemic; municipal spending; voter extremism; COVID-19
    JEL: H3 H4 I15 N14
    Date: 2020–05–01
  44. By: Desbureaux, Sébastien; Kaota, Audacieux; Lunanga, Elie; Stoop, Nik; Verpoorten, Marijke
    Abstract: Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is currently facing two major infectious disease outbreaks: Covid-19 and Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). We highlight large differences in the socioeconomic impact of these two outbreaks. The data come from a phone survey that we conducted in May 2020 with 456 households and 144 small firms from a megacity and a rural commune in the province of Nord Kivu. While 3,000 EVD cases and 2,000 EVD deaths were confirmed since August 2018, self-reported impacts of EVD on revenues, access to food and behaviour were limited. In contrast, only 43 Covid-19 cases were reported as of May 30th but respondents reported sizable effects on livelihoods, especially in the large urban hub, and in part driven by substantial job losses. Our results show that different infectious disease outbreaks can have very different effects, largely unrelated to case numbers of the disease. Moderately virulent but highly transmissible viruses such as Covid-19 can trigger a steep economic downturn, especially in areas with high economic interconnectedness, reflecting both national and international policies to contain the pandemic.
    Keywords: Kivu; covid-19; ebola
    Date: 2020–06
  45. By: Chorus, Caspar; Sandorf, Erlend Dancke; Mouter, Niek
    Abstract: We report and interpret preferences of a representative sample of the Dutch adult population for different strategies to end the so-called ‘intelligent lockdown’ which their government had put in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Using a discrete choice experiment, we invited participants to make a series of choices between policy scenarios aimed at relaxing the lockdown, which were specified not in terms of their nature (e.g. whether or not to allow schools to re-open) but in terms of their effects along seven dimensions. These included health-related aspects, but also impacts on the economy, education, and personal income. From the observed choices, we were able to infer the implicit trade-offs made by the Dutch between these policy effects. For example, we find that the average citizen, in order to avoid one fatality directly or indirectly related to COVID-19, is willing to accept a lasting lag in the educational performance of 18 children, or a lasting (>3 years) and substantial (>15%) reduction in net income of 77 households. We explore heterogeneity across individuals in terms of these trade-offs by means of latent class analysis. Our results suggest that most citizens are willing to trade-off health-related and other effects of the lockdown, implying a consequentialist ethical perspective. We find that the elderly, known to be at relatively high risk of being affected by the virus, are relatively reluctant to sacrifice economic pain and educational disadvantages for the younger generation, to avoid fatalities. We also identify a so-called taboo trade-off aversion amongst a substantial share of our sample, being an aversion to accept morally problematic policies that simultaneously imply higher fatality numbers and lower taxes. We explain various ways in which our results can be of value to policy makers in the context of the COVID-19 and future pandemics.
    Keywords: Covid-19, Coronavirus, choice experiment, consequentialism, taboo trade-offs
    JEL: H00 I18 I38
    Date: 2020–05–20
  46. By: Caulfield, Timothy
    Abstract: One of the defining characteristics of this pandemic has been the spread of misinformation. Indeed, the World Health Organization famously called the crisis not just a pandemic, but also an “infodemic.” Why and how misinformation spreads and has an impact on behaviours and beliefs is a complex and multidimensional phenomenon. And there is an emerging rich academic literature on misinformation, particularly in the context of social media. Here, I focus on two relatively narrow questions: is debunking an effective strategy and, if so, what kind of counter-messaging is most effective? While the data remains complex and, at times, contradictory, there is little doubt that efforts to correct misinformation are worthwhile. In fact, fighting the spread of misinformation should be viewed as vitally important health and science policy priority.
    Date: 2020–05–25
  47. By: Eichenbaum, Martin; Rebelo, Sérgio; Trabandt, Mathias
    Abstract: Epidemiology models used in macroeconomics generally assume that people know their current health status. In this paper, we consider a more realistic environment in which people are uncertain about their health status. We use our model to study the impact of testing with and without quarantining infected people. We find that testing without quarantines can worsen the economic and health repercussions of an epidemic. In contrast, a policy that uses tests to quarantine infected people has very large social benefits. Critically, this policy ameliorates the sharp trade-offs between declines in economic activity and health outcomes that is associated with broad-based containment policies like lockdowns. This amelioration is particularly dramatic when people who recover from an infection acquire only temporary immunity to the virus.
    Keywords: containment; COVID-19; Epidemic; Quarantine; Recessions; Testing
    JEL: E1 H0 I1
    Date: 2020–05
  48. By: Demirguc-Kunt,Asli; Lokshin,Michael M.; Torre,Ivan
    Abstract: The size of the economic shocks triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects of the associated non-pharmaceutical interventions have not been fully assessed, because the official economic indicators have not been published. This paper provides estimates of the economic impacts of the non-pharmaceutical interventions implemented by countries in Europe and Central Asia over the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. The analysis relies on high-frequency proxies, such as daily electricity consumption, nitrogen dioxide emission, and mobility records, to trace the economic disruptions caused by the pandemic, and calibrates these measures to estimate magnitude of the economic impact. The results suggest that the non-pharmaceutical interventions led to about a decline of about 10 percent in economic activity across the region. On average, countries that implemented non-pharmaceutical interventions in the early stages of the pandemic appear to have better short-term economic outcomes and lower cumulative mortality, compared with countries that imposed non-pharmaceutical interventions during the later stages of the pandemic. In part, this is because the interventions have been less stringent. Moreover, there is evidence that COVID-19 mortality at the peak of the local outbreak has been lower in countries that acted earlier. In this sense, the results suggest that the sooner non-pharmaceutical interventions are implemented, the better are the economic and health outcomes.
    Keywords: Energy Policies&Economics,Public Health Promotion,Law and Justice Institutions,Health Care Services Industry,Leprosy,Avian Flu,Communicable Diseases,Cholera
    Date: 2020–05–26
  49. By: Lucas Bretschger (Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH), ETH Zurich, Switzerland); Elise Grieg (Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH), ETH Zurich, Switzerland); Paul J.J. Welfens (EIIW/University of Wuppertal); Tian Xiong (EIIW/University of Wuppertal)
    Abstract: This paper presents empirical results on coronavirus fatality rates from cross-country regressions for OECD countries. We include medical, environmental and policy variables in our analysis to explain the death rates when holding case rates constant. We find that the share of the aged population, obesity rates, and local air pollution levels have a positive effect on fatality rates across the different estimation equations. The strategy of aiming to achieve herd immunity has a significant positive effect on death rates. Other medical and policy variables discussed in the public sphere do not show a significant impact in our regressions. An evaluation of different health policy stringencies does not yield clear conclusions. Our results suggest that improving local air quality helps reduce the negative effects of a coronavirus pandemic significantly.
    Keywords: Coronavirus Pandemic, Fatality Rates, Local Air Pollution, OECD Countries, Health Systems, Environmental Policy
    JEL: I10 Q53 I18 H12
    Date: 2020–06
  50. By: Daniela Del Boca (University of Turin and Collegio Carlo Alberto); Noemi Oggero; Paola Profeta; Maria Cristina Rossi
    Abstract: Evidence from past economic crises indicates that recessions often affect men’s and women’s employment differently, with a greater impact on male-dominated sectors. The current COVID-19 crisis presents novel characteristics that have affected economic, health and social phenomena over wide swaths of the economy. Social distancing measures to combat the spread of the virus, such as working from home and school closures, have placed an additional tremendous burden on families. Using new survey data collected in April 2020 from a representative sample of Italian women, we analyse jointly the effect of COVID-19 on the working arrangements, housework and childcare of couples where both partners work. Our results show that most of the additional workload associated to COVID-19 falls on women while childcare activities are more equally shared within the couple than housework activities. According to our empirical estimates, changes to the amount of housework done by women during the emergency do not seem to depend on their partners’ working arrangements. With the exception of those continuing to work at their usual place of work, all of the women surveyed spend more time on housework than before. In contrast, the amount of time men devote to housework does depend on their partners’ working arrangements: men whose partners continue to work at their usual workplace spend more time on housework than before. The link between time devoted to childcare and working arrangements is more symmetric, with both women and men spending less time with their children if they continue to work away from home. For home schooling, too, parents who continue to go to their usual workplace after the lockdown are less likely to spend greater amounts of time with their children than before. Finally, analysis of work-life balance satisfaction shows that working women with children aged 0-5 are those who say they find balancing work and family more difficult during COVID-19. The work-life balance is especially difficult to achieve for those with partners who continue to work outside the home during the emergency.
    Keywords: COVID-19, work arrangements, housework, childcare
    JEL: J13 J16 J21
    Date: 2020–06

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