nep-hea New Economics Papers
on Health Economics
Issue of 2020‒07‒20
53 papers chosen by
Nicolas R. Ziebarth
Cornell University

  1. If Sick-Leave Becomes More Costly, Will I Go Back to Work? Could It Be Too Soon? By Marie, Olivier; Vall-Castello, Judit
  2. Reclassification Risk in the Small Group Health Insurance Market By Fleitas, Sebastian; Gowrisankaran, Gautam; Lo Sasso, Anthony
  3. Dying to Work: Effects of Unemployment Insurance on Health By Alexander Ahammer; Analisa Packham
  4. Health and Employment amongst Older Workers By Britton, Jack; French, Eric Baird
  5. Spousal Labor Supply, Caregiving, and the Value of Disability Insurance By Siha Lee
  6. Biased Health Perceptions and Risky Health Behaviors: Theory and Evidence By Arni, Patrick; Dragone, Davide; Götte, Lorenz; Ziebarth, Nicolas R.
  7. Impact of a Health Shock on Lifestyle Behaviours By Zoey Verdun
  8. Are Children's Socio-Emotional Skills Shaped by Parental Health Shocks? By Esteban García-Miralles; Miriam Gensowski
  9. The Intergenerational Transmission of Opioid Dependence: Evidence from Administrative Data By Alexander Ahammer; Martin Halla
  10. Make Sure the Kids are OK: Indirect Effects of Ground-Level Ozone on Well-Being By Julia Rechlitz; Luis Sarmiento; Aleksandar Zaklan
  11. Subjective Probabilistic Expectations, Household Air Pollution, and Health: Evidence from cooking fuel use patterns in India By Chattopadhyay, Mriduchhanda; Arimura, Toshi H.; Katayama, Hajime; Sakudo, Mari; Yokoo, Hide-Fumi
  12. Consumer Taxes on Alcohol: An International Comparison over Time By Anderson, Kym
  13. Inequality of opportunity in bodyweight among middle-aged and older Chinese: a distributional approach By Nie, P.; Ding, L.; Jones, A.M.
  14. Sweet child of mine: Income, health and inequality By Berman, Nicolas; Rotunno, Lorenzo; Ziparo, Roberta
  15. Multilateral and Multidimensional Wellness Measurement in the Absence of Cardinal Measure: Health, Loneliness, Ageing and Gender in 21st Century China. By Gordon John Anderson; Rui Fu
  16. Overconfidence and hygiene non-compliance in hospitals By Lima de Miranda, Katharina; Detlefsen, Lena; Stolpe, Michael
  17. The effects of ICT ownership on hospital performance in the Cameroonian context By Chevalier de Dieu Kutche Tamghe; Denis Ngae; Innocent Essomme
  18. A Randomized, Controlled, Behavioral Intervention to Promote Walking after Abdominal Organ Transplantation: Results from the LIFT Study By Barankay, Iwan; Chadha, Sakshum; Jones, Lauren S.; Olthoff, Kim; Reese, Peter; Serper, Marina; Shults, Justine
  19. It Takes a Village to Raise a Child. Impact Evaluation of the Training for Volunteers in Health and the Nutritional Recovery Cycles in West Guatemala By Juliana Yael Milovich; Elena Villar
  20. The Political Scar of Epidemics By Cevat Giray Aksoy; Barry Eichengreen; Orkun Saka
  21. Social Capital and the Spread of COVID-19: Insights from European Countries By Bartscher, Alina Kristin; Seitz, Sebastian; Siegloch, Sebastian; Slotwinski, Michaela; Wehrhöfer, Nils
  22. Misinformation During a Pandemic By Leonardo Bursztyn; Aakaash Rao; Christopher P. Roth; David H. Yanagizawa-Drott
  23. The Impact of COVID-19 on Student Experiences and Expectations: Evidence from a Survey By Esteban M. Aucejo; Jacob F. French; Maria Paola Ugalde Araya; Basit Zafar
  24. Black Lives Matter Protests, Social Distancing, and COVID-19 By Dhaval M. Dave; Andrew I. Friedson; Kyutaro Matsuzawa; Joseph J. Sabia; Samuel Safford
  25. Cognitive Performance in the Home Office - Evidence from Professional Chess By Künn, Steffen; Seel, Christian; Zegners, Dainis
  26. Pandemics and protectionism: evidence from the "Spanish" flu By Sharp, Paul Richard; Pedersen, Maja Uhre; Lampe, Markus; Boberg-Fazlic, Nina
  27. Geriatric health in Bangladesh during COVID-19: challenges and recommendations By Hossain, Md Mahbub; Mazumder, Hoimonty; Tasnim, Samia; Nuzhath, Tasmiah; Sultana, Abida
  28. The Long Arm of the Clean Air Act: Pollution Abatement and COVID-19 Racial Disparities By Jill Furzer; Boriana Miloucheva
  29. Suicide of a farmer amid COVID-19 in India: Perspectives on social determinants of suicidal behavior and prevention strategies By Hossain, Md Mahbub; Purohit, Neetu; Sharma, Rachit; Bhattacharya, Sudip; McKyer, E. Lisako J.; Ma, Ping
  30. The Social Cost of Contacts: Theory and Evidence for the COVID-19 Pandemic in Germany By Martin F. Quaas; Jasper N. Meya; Hanna Schenk; Björn Bos; Moritz A. Drupp; Till Requate
  31. Jevons' paradox and a tax on aviation to prevent the next pandemic By Pueyo, Salvador
  32. Trust in science and experts during the COVID-19 outbreak in Italy By Battiston, Pietro; Kashyap, Ridhi; Rotondi, Valentina
  33. Timing is Everything when Fighting a Pandemic: COVID-19 Mortality in Spain By Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina; Borra, Cristina; Rivera Garrido, Noelia; Sevilla, Almudena
  34. The Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19): Theoretical and practical perspectives on children, women and sex trafficking By Simplice A. Asongu; Usman M. Usman; Xuan V. Vo
  35. The Political Scar of Epidemics By Aksoy, Cevat Giray; Eichengreen, Barry; Saka, Orkun
  36. Conflict in Africa during COVID-19: social distancing, food vulnerability and welfare response By Roxana Guti\'errez-Romero
  37. Lifting the lockdown: what are the options for low and middle-income countries? By Chowdhury, Rajiv; Luhar, Shammi; Khan, Nusrat; Choudhury, Sohel Reza; Matin, Imran; Franco, Oscar H
  38. Act Now or Forever Hold Your Peace: Slowing Contagion with Unknown Spreaders, Constrained Cleaning Capacities and Costless Measures By Louis-Marie Harpedanne de Belleville
  39. Did the Wisconsin Supreme Court Restart a COVID-19 Epidemic? Evidence from a Natural Experiment By Dave, Dhaval M.; Friedson, Andrew I.; Matsuzawa, Kyutaro; McNichols, Drew; Sabia, Joseph J.
  40. A novel dataset of governments' responses to COVID-19 all around the world By Simon Porcher
  41. Lives and Livelihoods : Estimates of the Global Mortality and Poverty Effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic By Decerf,Benoit; Ferreira,Francisco H. G.; Mahler,Daniel Gerszon; Sterck,Olivier
  42. The Effectiveness of Life-Preserving Investments in Times of COVID-19 By Jules H. van Binsbergen; Christian C. Opp
  43. My Home Is my Castle – The Benefits of Working from Home During a Pandemic Crisis Evidence from Germany By Jean-Victor Alipour; Harald Fadinger; Jan Schymik
  44. COVID-19, race and redlining By Bertocchi, Graziella; Dimico, Arcangelo
  45. Spreading the disease: The role of culture By Laliotis, Ioannis; Minos, Dimitrios
  46. Face Masks Considerably Reduce COVID-19 Cases in Germany: A Synthetic Control Method Approach By Mitze, Timo; Kosfeld, Reinhold; Rode, Johannes; Wälde, Klaus
  47. Endogenous Social Distancing in an Epidemic By Guillaume Vandenbroucke
  48. Nash SIR: An Economic-Epidemiological Model of Strategic Behavior During a Viral Epidemic By David McAdams
  49. Estimation of Covid-19 Prevalence from Serology Tests: A Partial Identification Approach By Panos Toulis
  50. Does Precise Case Information Limit Precautionary Behavior? Evidence from COVID-19 in Singapore By Janssen, Aljoscha; Shapiro, Matthew
  51. COVID-19: impact on the urban food retail system, diet and health inequalities in the UK By Cummins, Steven; Berger, Nicolas; Cornelsen, Laura; Eling, Judith; Er, Vanessa; Greener, Robert; Kalbus, Alexandra; Karapici, Amanda; Law, Cherry; Ndlovu, Denise
  52. Gender Inequality in COVID-19 Times: Evidence from UK Prolific Participants By Sonia Oreffice; Climent Quintana-Domeque
  53. Effects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic on Social Behaviours: From a Social Dilemma Perspective By Ling, Gabriel Hoh Teck; Ho, Christina Mee Chyong

  1. By: Marie, Olivier (Erasmus University Rotterdam); Vall-Castello, Judit (University of Barcelona)
    Abstract: We investigate the impact on work absence of a massive reduction in paid sick leave benefits. We exploit a policy change that only affected public sector workers in Spain and compare changes in the number and length of spells they take relative to unaffected private sector workers. Our results highlight a large drop in frequency mostly offset by increases in average duration. Overall, the policy did reduce number of days lost to sick leave. For some, however, return to work may have been premature as we document huge increases in both the proportion of relapses and working accidents rates.
    Keywords: sickness insurance, paid sick leave, absenteeism, presenteeism, relapses contagious diseases, benefit displacement, working accidents, negative externalities, Spain, COVID-19
    JEL: I12 I13 I18 J22 J28 J32
    Date: 2020–06
  2. By: Fleitas, Sebastian; Gowrisankaran, Gautam; Lo Sasso, Anthony
    Abstract: We evaluate reclassification risk in the small group health insurance market from a period before ACA community rating regulations. Reclassification risk in this setting is of key policy relevance and also a matter of debate. We use detailed claims and premiums data from a large insurance company and control non-parametrically for selection. We find a pass through of 16% from changes in health risk to changes in premiums, with a stronger equilibrium relationship between premiums and risk. This pattern is consistent with the insurer implicitly offering "guaranteed renewability'' contracts with one-sided pricing commitment. We further find that groups whose health risk decreases have premiums that are more responsive to risk, which the guaranteed renewability model attributes to ex post renegotiation. The observed pricing policy adds 60% of the consumer welfare gain from community rating relative to experience rating. The welfare gains are limited because employers and employees switch coverage frequently.
    Keywords: Adverse Selection; experience rating; guaranteed renewability; inertia; Pass through
    Date: 2020–02
  3. 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: Unemployment insurance, health, disability, opioids
    JEL: I38 I18 J18
    Date: 2020–06
  4. By: Britton, Jack; French, Eric Baird
    Abstract: Health and employment are strongly correlated. This paper reviews the existing evidence and brings in new evidence on the following issues: (a) the measurement of health; (b) the impact of health on employment rather than just the association between health and employment; (c) the mechanisms by which health impacts employment; and (d) the likely effect of recent retirement and disability policy changes in the UK. Although the magnitude of the estimated effect of health on employment varies greatly from study to study, some of this variation is driven by the health measure used. Given our preferred measure, the evidence suggests that 5-10 percent of the employment decline between ages 50 and 70 is due to declining health in England, with the largest effects among low-educated men. Most of the effect comes through declining preferences for work and lower productivity when in bad health, although some of the effect is from government-provided incentives to not work when in bad health, such as from disability benefits.
    Keywords: health; Labour Supply; retirement
    JEL: I10 I18 J26
    Date: 2020–02
  5. By: Siha Lee
    Abstract: For married couples, spousal labor supply can act as a household insurance mechanism against one spouse’s earnings shock. This paper evaluates the insurance value of the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program among married households when wives face a time allocation problem between market hours and spousal care following their husbands’ disability. Using an event study approach, I find that while there is a sizable increase in wives’ working hours after their husbands’ job displacement, wives’ labor supply responses to their husbands’ disability are small, and instead, a considerable amount of time is spent in spousal care. I develop and estimate a dynamic structural model of married households and find that incorporating time loss due to spousal care increases the insurance value of SSDI relative to its costs. Furthermore, policy reforms such as supplementary caregiving benefits can improve social welfare.
    Keywords: disability; social security; added worker effect; caregiving
    JEL: D13 H53 H55 I38 J22
    Date: 2020–06
  6. By: Arni, Patrick (University of Bristol); Dragone, Davide (University of Bologna); Götte, Lorenz (University of Bonn); Ziebarth, Nicolas R. (Cornell University)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the role of biased health perceptions as driving forces of risky health behavior. We define absolute and relative health perception biases, illustrate their measurement in surveys and provide evidence on their relevance. Next, we decompose the theoretical effect into its extensive and intensive margin: When the extensive margin dominates, people (wrongly) believe they are healthy enough to "afford" unhealthy behavior. Finally, using three population surveys, we provide robust empirical evidence that respondents who overestimate their health are less likely to exercise and sleep enough, but more likely to eat unhealthily and drink alcohol daily.
    Keywords: health bias, health perceptions, subjective beliefs, overconfidence, underconfidence, overoptimism, risky behavior, smoking, obesity, exercising, SF12, SAH, BASE-II
    JEL: C93 D03 D83 I12
    Date: 2020–05
  7. By: Zoey Verdun
    Abstract: Following a healthier lifestyle can improve living quality. Yet mixed evidence exists for whether a health shock induces individuals to change their lifestyle. Panel data from the UK Household Longitudinal Study, Understanding Society, is used to estimate the response to a health shock – heart attack or diabetes diagnosis – on a healthy lifestyle index, composed of eight lifestyle behaviours. Using a matching approach, this paper finds a significant positive effect on the index; a large effect is found for a strong shock, but no effect for a weak one. The overall effect is driven by increased fruit and vegetable consumption, decreased number of cigarettes smoked and increased probability to quit drinking alcohol. Among those drivers there is heterogeneity by sex, such as only women increase the probability to quit drinking. Lifestyle changes following a shock suggest updated beliefs about an individual’s health status, with heterogeneous costs of change across individuals and behaviours.
    Keywords: health shocks; lifestyle behaviours; behavioural change
    JEL: I12 D83
    Date: 2020
  8. By: Esteban García-Miralles (CEBI, Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen); Miriam Gensowski (CEBI, Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)
    Abstract: Child skills are shaped by parental investments. When parents experience a health shock, their investments and therefore their children's skills may be affected. This paper estimates causal effects of severe parental health shocks on child socio-emotional skills. Drawing on a large-scale survey linked to hospital records, we find that socio-emotional skills of 11-16 year-olds are robust to parental health shocks, with the exception of significant but very small reductions in Conscientiousness. We study short-run effects with a child-fixed effects model, and dynamics around the shocks with event studies. A sibling comparison suggests some long-run build-up of effects of early shocks.
    Keywords: Big Five personality traits, development of personality traits, parental health shocks, socio-emotional skills, non-cognitive skills, skill formation
    JEL: J24 I10 I21
    Date: 2020–07–09
  9. By: Alexander Ahammer; Martin Halla
    Abstract: To address the opioid crisis, it is crucial to understand its origins. We provide evidence for the intergenerational transmission of opioid dependence. Our analysis is based on administrative data covering the universe of Austrian births from 1984 to 1990. We consider prescription opioids and have a close proxy for addiction to illicit opioids. We find that, if at least one parent is using illicit opioids, the likelihood of the child using increases from 1.1 to 6.1%. For prescription opioids, we observe an increase from 4.6 to 7.7%. Both associations are stable and do not change when controlling for environmental variables.
    Keywords: Opioids, prescription opioids, illicit opioids, heroin, addiction, drug abuse, intergenerational transmission, intergenerational correlation
    JEL: I12 I14 I18 J62
    Date: 2020–06
  10. By: Julia Rechlitz; Luis Sarmiento; Aleksandar Zaklan
    Abstract: This paper uses a panel of German individuals and highly granular pollution data to test if air pollution affects adults’ well-being indirectly through the health of their children. Results show that ozone decreases the well-being of individuals with children while not affecting persons without kids. We confirm the same effect for fine particulate matter and sulfur dioxide. Concerning the mechanism, we find that above-median earners drive this effect and that ozone causes losses in workdays to care for a sick child, providing evidence on the children’s health channel to adults’ welfare losses.
    Keywords: Air pollution, ozone, well-being, subjective health, children’s health, parental in- vestments
    JEL: Q53 I31 I18 J22
    Date: 2020
  11. By: Chattopadhyay, Mriduchhanda; Arimura, Toshi H.; Katayama, Hajime; Sakudo, Mari; Yokoo, Hide-Fumi
    Abstract: An increasing number of empirical studies have investigated the determinants of cooking fuel choice in developing countries, where health risk from household air pollution is one of the most important issues. We contribute to this stream of literature by examining individuals’ subjective probabilistic expectations about health risks when using different types of fuel and their influence on cooking fuel usage patterns. We also explore how these patterns, in turn, affect health status. Using data collected from 557 rural Indian households, we find that subjective probabilistic expectations of becoming sick from dirty fuel usage have a negative influence on the fraction of days with dirty fuel usage in the household. The results also show that dirty fuel usage degrades the health of the individual. We then examine the effectiveness of information provision regarding the health risks of dirty/clean fuel usage. Our simulation demonstrates that although the provision of information results in statistically significant changes in the households’ cooking fuel usage patterns and in the individuals’ health status, the changes may be small in size.
    Keywords: Subjective probabilistic expectations, Household air pollution, Cooking fuel usage pattern, Health, Developing country
    JEL: I10 Q40 C83
    Date: 2020–05
  12. By: Anderson, Kym
    Abstract: Rates of alcohol taxation, and the types of tax instruments used, vary enormously between countries and have tended to rise in recent times. Within each country they also vary between beverages, and often between qualities and styles of each beverage. This paper computes consumer tax equivalents in US dollars per litre of alcohol and as percentages of wholesale prices of representative beverages for 42 high-and middle-income countries. That allows comparisons across countries of taxes not just for each product on its own but also relative to those for other alcoholic beverages. The wide dispersion of rates and differences in tax instruments across countries and products suggest differing strengths of health and welfare lobbyists and industry groups in influencing government decision-making.
    Keywords: alcohol import tariffs; Consumer tax equivalents; Excise taxes
    JEL: D12 D62 E62 H23 I18 P46
    Date: 2020–02
  13. By: Nie, P.; Ding, L.; Jones, A.M.
    Abstract: Using the 2011 and 2015 waves of the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS) linked with the 2014 CHARLS Life History Survey, we provide a comprehensive analysis on inequality of opportunity (IOp) in both body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC) among middle-aged and older Chinese. We find that IOp ranges from 65.5% to 74.6% for BMI (from 82.1% to 95.5% for WC). Decomposition results show that spatial circumstances such as urban/rural residence and province of residence are dominant. Health status and nutrition conditions in childhood are the second largest contributor. Distributional decompositions further reveal that inequality in bodyweight is not simply a matter of demographic (age and gender) inequalities; our set of spatial and health and nutrition conditions in childhood become much more relevant towards the right tails of the bodyweight distribution, where the clinical risk is focused.
    Keywords: inequality of opportunity; body mass index; waist circumference; CHARLS; Shapley-Shorrocks decomposition; unconditional quantile regressions
    JEL: D63 I12 I14
    Date: 2020–06
  14. By: Berman, Nicolas; Rotunno, Lorenzo; Ziparo, Roberta
    Abstract: How to allocate limited resources among children is a crucial household decision, especially in developing countries where it might have strong implications for children and family survival. We study how variations in parental income in the early life of their children affect subsequent child health and parental investments across siblings, using micro data from multiple waves of the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) spanning 54 developing countries. Variations in the world prices of locally produced crops are used as measures of local income. We find that children born in periods of higher income durably enjoy better health and receive better human capital (health and education) investments than their siblings. Children whose older siblings were born during favourable income periods receive less investment and exhibit worse health in absolute terms. We interpret these within-household reallocations in light of economic and evolutionary theories that highlight the importance of efficiency considerations in competitive environments. Finally, we study the implications of these for aggregate child health inequality, which is found to be higher in regions exposed to more volatile crop prices.
    Keywords: health; Income; intra-household allocations; Parental investments
    JEL: D13 I14 I15 J13 O12
    Date: 2020–02
  15. By: Gordon John Anderson; Rui Fu
    Abstract: Comparing the wellbeing of groups using self reported measures of wellbeing can be challenging. The scale dependency of many summary statistics applied to arbitrary Cantril scales attached to ordinal categorical data can engender a lack of coherency in results based upon alternative, equally valid scales. Furthermore, the conditions under which results will be robust across alternative scales seldom prevail in practice. Here scale independent methods for the multilateral and multidimensional wellness measurement and comparison of groups are proposed and implemented in a study of the health-loneliness-aging-gender nexus in 21st century China. The results indicate that poor health and loneliness appears to increase with age, though not monotonically. Improved health status is always associated with better un-loneliness outcomes and improved un-loneliness status is always associated with better health outcomes. While a large portion of the population are not affected by loneliness, of those who are, ill health is generally more likely to be reported. With regard to the health - loneliness joint distribution, generally, males enjoy better joint outcomes than their female counterparts in almost every comparison and urban dwellers enjoy better outcomes than their rural counterparts.
    Keywords: Wellbeing Measurement, Ordering Distributions, Ordinal Data.
    JEL: C14 I14 I30 I31
    Date: 2020–06–22
  16. By: Lima de Miranda, Katharina; Detlefsen, Lena; Stolpe, Michael
    Abstract: Among measures to fight hospital acquired infections, an emerging epidemic in many countries around the world, adoption of appropriate hand hygiene practices by healthcare workers is considered a priority. Despite their simplicity and effectiveness, healthcare workers' compliance is poor, with most empirical studies finding compliance rates well below 50% in many countries. Management strategies to increase compliance are often based on the notion that non-compliance is a moral hazard problem, characterized by asymmetric information between hospital management and healthcare workers. In this study, we provide empirical evidence that an individual behavioral characteristic, known as overconfidence, induces many healthcare workers to overestimate their hand hygiene compliance and hence to underperform unknowingly and unintentionally [...].
    Keywords: hospital acquired infections,hand hygiene,overconfidence,moral hazard,WHO guidelines
    JEL: I12 I18 C91
    Date: 2020
  17. By: Chevalier de Dieu Kutche Tamghe (IPD - Institut Panafricain Pour le Développement); Denis Ngae (University of Wisconsin-Madison); Innocent Essomme (Université de Dschang)
    Abstract: This study aims to research the effects of the ownership of ICT on hospital performance in the Cameroonian context. To achieve this objective, data from a field survey of a valid random sample of 479 employees from first and second category hospitals in Cameroon are subjected to descriptive and econometric analyzes. The results obtained reveal that the level of ownership of ICT by hospital staff is very average and has an impact on hospital performance. Indeed, the inferential analyzes performed using simple regression showed a positive and significant effect of the perceived ease of use of ICT, the perceived usefulness and cognitive absorption on hospital performance. These results, discussed from the perspective of Berbain and Minvielle (2001), Li, Benton and Leong (2002), Mukuna (2016) and Picard (2007) suggest acting on the determinants of ICT ownership, which are: training, raising awareness and improving the working conditions of hospital staff if we want to improve their ability to use and their enthusiasm for this use of ICT. this would improve staff satisfaction, patient satisfaction and the quality of clinical services.
    Keywords: Hospital performance,Cognitive absorption,Perceived usability,ICT ownership,Perceived usefulness
    Date: 2020–04
  18. By: Barankay, Iwan; Chadha, Sakshum; Jones, Lauren S.; Olthoff, Kim; Reese, Peter; Serper, Marina; Shults, Justine
    Abstract: Kidney transplant recipients (KTRs) and liver transplant recipients (LTRs) have significant post-transplant weight gain and low physical activity. We conducted a home-based, remotely-monitored intervention using wearable accelerometer devices to promote post-transplant physical activity. We randomized 61 KTRs and 66 LTRs within 24 months of transplant to: 1) control, 2) accelerometer, or 3) intervention: accelerometer paired with financial incentives and health engagement questions to increase steps by 15% from baseline every 2 weeks. The primary outcome was weight change. A co-primary outcome for the two accelerometer arms was steps. Participants were recruited at a median of 9.5 [3-17] months post-transplant. At 3 months, there were no significant differences in weight change across the 3 arms. The intervention arm was more likely to achieve â?¥7000 steps compared to control with device (OR 1.99, 95% CI:1.03-3.87); effect remained significant after adjusting for demographics, allograft, time from transplant, and baseline weight. Adherence to target step goals was 74% in the intervention arm, 84% of health engagement questions were answered correctly. A pilot study with financial incentives and health engagement questions was feasible and led KTRs and LTRs to walk more, but did not affect weight. A definitive trial is warranted. ( number: NCT03221465).
    Date: 2020–02
  19. By: Juliana Yael Milovich; Elena Villar
    Abstract: The highest rates of child undernutrition in Guatemala are found in Western regions, where more than half of the children under five are stunted and almost 20% underweight. However, despite the large incidence of undernutrition in the country, there is no robust evidence of its determinants, effects and possible solutions. Our study analyses the impact of a program implemented by the Foundation FUNDAP in West Guatemala, Volunteers in Health, on the nutritional health of children under five years of age. We provide new evidence on how training women at the community level to provide information on infants' nutrition to mothers, together with the monitoring of children's growth and the supply of food supplements, contributes to significantly reduce the probability of children being underweight in West Guatemala.
    Keywords: Child Undernutrition, Women's Training, Health Programs, Impact Evaluation
    JEL: I38 J1 I18
    Date: 2020
  20. By: Cevat Giray Aksoy; Barry Eichengreen; Orkun Saka
    Abstract: What will be political legacy of the Coronavirus pandemic? We find that epidemic exposure in an individual’s “impressionable years” (ages 18 to 25) has a persistent negative effect on confidence in political institutions and leaders. We find similar negative effects on confidence in public health systems, suggesting that the loss of confidence in political leadership and institutions is associated with healthcare-related policies at the time of the epidemic. In line with this argument, our results are mostly driven by individuals who experienced epidemics under weak governments with less capacity to act against the epidemic, disappointing their citizens. We provide evidence of this mechanism by showing that weak governments took longer to introduce policy interventions in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. These results imply that the Coronavirus may leave behind a long-lasting political scar on the current young generation (“Generation Z”).
    JEL: I1 N0 Z28
    Date: 2020–06
  21. By: Bartscher, Alina Kristin (University of Bonn); Seitz, Sebastian (ZEW Mannheim); Siegloch, Sebastian (University of Mannheim); Slotwinski, Michaela (University of Basel); Wehrhöfer, Nils (ZEW Mannheim)
    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. Exploiting within-country variation, we show that a one standard deviation increase in social capital leads to 12% and 32% fewer Covid-19 cases per capita accumulated 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: 2020–05
  22. By: Leonardo Bursztyn; Aakaash Rao; Christopher P. Roth; David H. Yanagizawa-Drott
    Abstract: We study the effects of COVID-19 coverage early in the pandemic by the two most widely-viewed cable news shows in the United States – Hannity and Tucker Carlson Tonight, both on Fox News – on downstream health outcomes. We first document large differences in content between the shows and in cautious behavior among viewers. Through both a selection-on-observables strategy and a novel instrumental variable approach, we find that areas with greater exposure to the show downplaying the threat of COVID-19 experienced a greater number of cases and deaths. We assess magnitudes through a simple epidemiological model highlighting the role of externalities and provide evidence that misinformation is a key underlying mechanism.
    JEL: D1 I31 Z13
    Date: 2020–06
  23. By: Esteban M. Aucejo; Jacob F. French; Maria Paola Ugalde Araya; Basit Zafar
    Abstract: In order to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on higher education, we surveyed approximately 1,500 students at one of the largest public institutions in the United States using an instrument designed to recover the causal impact of the pandemic on students' current and expected outcomes. Results show large negative effects across many dimensions. Due to COVID-19: 13% of students have delayed graduation, 40% lost a job, internship, or a job offer, and 29% expect to earn less at age 35. Moreover, these effects have been highly heterogeneous. One quarter of students increased their study time by more than 4 hours per week due to COVID-19, while another quarter decreased their study time by more than 5 hours per week. This heterogeneity often followed existing socioeconomic divides; lower-income students are 55% more likely to have delayed graduation due to COVID-19 than their higher-income peers. Finally, we show that the economic and health related shocks induced by COVID-19 vary systematically by socioeconomic factors and constitute key mediators in explaining the large (and heterogeneous) effects of the pandemic.
    JEL: I2 I23 I24
    Date: 2020–06
  24. By: Dhaval M. Dave; Andrew I. Friedson; Kyutaro Matsuzawa; Joseph J. Sabia; Samuel Safford
    Abstract: Sparked by the killing of George Floyd in police custody, the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests have brought a new wave of attention to the issue of inequality within criminal justice. However, many public health officials have warned that mass protests could lead to a reduction in social distancing behavior, spurring a resurgence of COVID-19. This study uses newly collected data on protests in 315 of the largest U.S. cities to estimate the impacts of mass protests on social distancing and COVID-19 case growth. Event-study analyses provide strong evidence that net stay-at-home behavior increased following protest onset, consistent with the hypothesis that non-protesters’ behavior was substantially affected by urban protests. This effect was not fully explained by the imposition of city curfews. Estimated effects were generally larger for persistent protests and those accompanied by media reports of violence. Furthermore, we find no evidence that urban protests reignited COVID-19 case growth during the more than three weeks following protest onset. We conclude that predictions of broad negative public health consequences of Black Lives Matter protests were far too narrowly conceived.
    JEL: H75
    Date: 2020–06
  25. By: Künn, Steffen (RS: GSBE Theme Learning and Work, Macro, International & Labour Economics); Seel, Christian (RS: GSBE Theme Conflict & Cooperation, Microeconomics & Public Economics); Zegners, Dainis
    Abstract: During the recent COVID-19 pandemic, traditional (offline) chess tournaments were prohibited and instead held online. We exploit this as a unique setting to assess the impact of moving offline tasks online on the cognitive performance of individuals. We use the Artificial Intelligence embodied in a powerful chess engine to assess the quality of chess moves and associated errors. Using within-player comparisons, we find a statistically and economically significant decrease in performance when competing online compared to competing offline. Our results suggest that teleworking might have adverse effects on workers performing cognitive tasks.
    JEL: H12 L23 M11 M54
    Date: 2020–07–14
  26. By: Sharp, Paul Richard; Pedersen, Maja Uhre; Lampe, Markus; Boberg-Fazlic, Nina
    Abstract: The impact of COVID-19 on recent tendencies towards international isolationism has been much speculated on but remains to be seen. We suggest that valuable evidence can be gleaned from the "Spanish" flu of 1918-20. It is well-known that the world fell into a protectionist spiral following the First World War, but scholars have almost exclusively ignored the impact of the pandemic. We employ a difference-in-differences strategy on data for Europe and find that excess deaths had a significant impact on trade policy, independent of the war. A one standard deviation increase in excess deaths during the outbreak implied 0.022 percentage points higher tariffs subsequently, corresponding to an increase of one third of a standard deviation in tariffs. Health policy should aim to avoid the experience of the interwar period and consider the international macroeconomic impact of measures (not) taken.
    Keywords: Trade; Protectionism; Pandemics
    JEL: N74 I19 F13
    Date: 2020–07–03
  27. By: Hossain, Md Mahbub; Mazumder, Hoimonty; Tasnim, Samia; Nuzhath, Tasmiah; Sultana, Abida
    Abstract: The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is impacting health globally, whereas older adults are highly susceptible and more likely to have adverse health outcomes. In Bangladesh, the elderly population has been increasing over the past few decades, who often live with poor socioeconomic conditions and inadequate access to healthcare services. These disparities are likely to increase amid COVID-19, which may result in high mortality and morbidity among Bangladeshi older adults. We recommend that multifaceted interventions should be adopted for strengthening social care and health systems approach to ensure wellbeing, promote preventive measures, and facilitate access to healthcare among older adults in Bangladesh. Such multipronged measures would require policy-level commitment and collaborative efforts of health and social care providers and institutions to protect health and wellbeing among this vulnerable population during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Date: 2020–05–11
  28. By: Jill Furzer; Boriana Miloucheva
    Abstract: This paper investigates the role of long-term exposure to fine particulate pollution (PM 2.5) on COVID-19 disparities. To isolate the effect of PM 2.5, we leverage pollution spillovers from neighbouring counties not meeting Clean Air Act-set maximums on acceptable pollution levels. We find a 1-unit increase in cumulative exposure to PM 2.5 increased COVID-19 deaths by 43.5%. PM 2.5 exposure carries an additional race-specific mortality effect of 6.8%-16% for counties with a high proportion of minority or Black residents. However, counties just above CAA pollution thresholds, which had significant pollution reductions over time, saw a full standard deviation reduction in COVID-19 deaths per 100,000. Counties with higher representation of minority or Black residents saw reductions in deaths by 1.50 and 1.15 standard deviations, respectively. Nevertheless, these protective effects insufficiently compensate for the still higher levels of pollution exposure in counties with more Black or minority residents and the more consequential impact of pollution for these communities.
    Keywords: pollution, health, racial disparities
    JEL: I10 I14 Q52 Q53
    Date: 2020–06–26
  29. By: Hossain, Md Mahbub; Purohit, Neetu; Sharma, Rachit; Bhattacharya, Sudip; McKyer, E. Lisako J.; Ma, Ping
    Abstract: The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has impacted not only physical health but also mental health and wellbeing globally. These impacts can be critically higher among marginalized individuals and populations like farmers in India. While most of them live in poor socioeconomic conditions, recent psychosocial challenges due to the COVID-19 lockdown had brought endless suffering in their lives. In this article, we describe a case of suicide of an Indian farmer amid COVID-19 lockdown, who had debts and could not find laborers during the lockdown leading to a helpless situation committing suicide. In India, nearly 16,500 farmers commit suicide each year, which can aggravate if psychosocial and economic challenges like COVID-19 continues to affect them. We recommend psychosocial interventions among vulnerable farmers alongside strengthening economic support and institutional measures alleviating socioeconomic challenges and minimizing disparities in social determinants of suicidal behavior to prevent suicide among Indian farmers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Date: 2020–05–11
  30. By: Martin F. Quaas; Jasper N. Meya; Hanna Schenk; Björn Bos; Moritz A. Drupp; Till Requate
    Abstract: Building on the epidemiological SIR model we present an economic model with heterogeneous individuals deriving utility from social contacts creating infection risks. Focusing on social distancing of individuals susceptible to an infection we theoretically analyze the gap between private and social cost of contacts. To quantify this gap, we calibrate the model using German survey data on social distancing and impure altruism from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The optimal policy reduces contacts drastically in the beginning, to almost eradicate the epidemic, and keeps them at around a third of pre-pandemic levels with minor group-specific differences until a vaccine becomes tangible. Private protection efforts stabilize the epidemic in the laissez faire, though at a prevalence of infections much higher than optimal. Impure altruistic behaviour closes more than a quarter of the initial gap towards the social optimum. Our results suggests that private actions for self-protection and for the protection of others contribute substantially toward alleviating the problem of social cost.
    Keywords: COVID-19, coronavirus, economic-epidemiology, private public good provision, impure altruism, uncertainty, SIR, social distancing, epidemic control
    JEL: I18 D62 D64
    Date: 2020
  31. By: Pueyo, Salvador
    Abstract: How is it possible that, in an era of unprecedented medical progress, humanity is once again caught in a major pandemic? Several lines of evidence suggest that advances in infectious diseases control facilitate the development of major urban centers, global high-speed transportation, industrial animal farming and ecosystem destruction. In turn, all of these are well known to favor such diseases, thus reproducing the same kind of dynamic previously observed in resource consumption and known as “Jevons' paradox”. Such economic developments compel health systems to develop continuously just to maintain the improvements that had already been achieved, which, furthermore, became more difficult with the generalization of neoliberal policies. In this process, progresses whose primary purpose is to benefit everybody's health are transmuted into benefits for those involved in certain economic activities. This is especially apparent in the case of long-haul aviation, a profitable activity aimed mainly at a high-income minority but playing a unique role in disease transmission. The COVID-19 pandemic is, therefore, one of the most massive cost-shifting events ever. A proposal is presented to prevent comparable if not even more harmful events in the future, with two parts. First, a global fund with base funding from an internationally-agreed tax on aviation, devoted to upgrading health systems and to programs to tackle sources of emerging infectious diseases, especially wild animal trade. Second and no less important, a global agreement to fundamentally transform agri-food systems.
    Date: 2020–05–12
  32. By: Battiston, Pietro; Kashyap, Ridhi; Rotondi, Valentina (University of Oxford)
    Abstract: Trust in science and experts is extremely important in times of epidemics to ensure compliance with public health measures. Yet little is known about how this trust evolves while an epidemic is underway. In this paper, we examine the dynamics of trust in science and experts in real-time as the high-impact epidemic of Coronavirus (COVID-19) unfolds in Italy, by drawing on digital trace data from Twitter and survey data collected online via Telegram and Facebook. Both Twitter and Telegram data point to initial increases in reliance on and information-seeking from scientists and health authorities with the diffusion of the disease. Consistent with these increases, using a separately fielded online survey we find that knowledge about health information linked to COVID-19 and support for containment measures was fairly widespread. Trust in science, relative to trust in institutions (e.g. local or national government), emerges as a consistent predictor of both knowledge and containment outcomes. However, over time and as the epidemic peaks, we detect a slowdown and turnaround in reliance and information-seeking from scientists and health authorities, which we interpret as signs of an erosion in trust. This is supported by a novel survey experiment, which finds that those holding incorrect beliefs about COVID-19 give no or lower importance to information about the virus when the source of such information is known to be scientific.
    Date: 2020–05–11
  33. By: Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina (University of California, Merced); Borra, Cristina (University of Seville); Rivera Garrido, Noelia; Sevilla, Almudena (University College London)
    Abstract: In an effort to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries around the globe adopted social distancing measures. Previous studies have relied on the geographical and temporal variation in the adoption of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to show that early adoption of NPIs is correlated to lower infection and mortality rates. However, due to the non-random adoption of NPIs, the findings may not be interpreted as causal. We address this limitation using a different source of identification –namely, the regional variation in the placement on the pandemic curve at the time of a nationwide lockdown. Our results reveal how, relative to regions for which the lockdown arrived 10+ days after the pandemic's outbreak, regions where the outbreak had just started were able to lower their daily fatality rate by 2.5 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants. We also provide suggestive evidence of contagion deceleration as the main mechanism behind the effectiveness of the early adoption of NPIs in lowering the death rate, rather than increased healthcare capacity.
    Keywords: COVID-19, coronavirus, lockdown, mortality, Spain
    JEL: J10 I12 I18
    Date: 2020–05
  34. By: Simplice A. Asongu (Yaounde, Cameroon); Usman M. Usman (University of Malaya, Malaysia); Xuan V. Vo (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)
    Abstract: The novel Coronavirus has spread internationally to more than two hundred countries and territories. At the same time, human trafficking in girls and women constitutes a global oppression in virtually all nations either as the source, transit, or destination. The feminist investigators have it that women are in destitute situations, which is a substantial trait of exploitation, especially in the light of the present Covid-19 pandemic. There is practically no research on the relevance of the current deadly respiratory disease to human trafficking from the gender dimension. This study fills the identified gap by providing theoretical and practical perspectives on children, women, and sex trafficking. It is a qualitative inquiry that employs process tracing as a primary research instrument. To better understand the present plague and gender situation, secondary data which are utilized consist of articles, books, reports, and integrated statistics. This research is arguably the first attempt that creates data evidence connecting the pandemic to female sexual exploitation. The paper illustrates that a policy is needed that will strengthen the capacity of existing structures in the fight against the underlying trafficking so that these attendant structures efficiently react to the corresponding threats to public health safety as well as contribute towards stopping the trafficking of girls and women during a pandemic.
    Keywords: Coronavirus, pandemic, human trafficking, girls and women, feminism
    Date: 2020–06
  35. By: Aksoy, Cevat Giray; Eichengreen, Barry; Saka, Orkun
    Abstract: What will be political legacy of the Coronavirus pandemic? We find that epidemic exposure in an individual's impressionable years (ages 18 to 25) has a persistent negative effect on confidence in political institutions and leaders. We find similar negative effects on confidence in public health systems, suggesting that the loss of confidence in political leadership and institutions is associated with healthcare related policies at the time of the epidemic. In line with this argument, our results are mostly driven by individuals who experienced epidemics under weak governments with less capacity to act against the epidemic, disappointing their citizens. We provide evidence of this mechanism by showing that weak governments took longer to introduce policy interventions in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. These results imply that the Coronavirus may leave behind a long-lasting political scar on the current young generation ("Generation Z").
    Date: 2020–06–16
  36. By: Roxana Guti\'errez-Romero
    Abstract: We study the effect of social distancing, food vulnerability, welfare and labour COVID-19 policy responses on riots, violence against civilians and food-related conflicts. Our analysis uses georeferenced data for 24 African countries with monthly local prices and real-time conflict data reported in the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED) from January 2015 until early May 2020. Lockdowns and recent welfare policies have been implemented in light of COVID-19, but in some contexts also likely in response to ongoing conflicts. To mitigate the potential risk of endogeneity, we use instrumental variables. We exploit the exogeneity of global commodity prices, and three variables that increase the risk of COVID-19 and efficiency in response such as countries colonial heritage, male mortality rate attributed to air pollution and prevalence of diabetes in adults. We find that the probability of experiencing riots, violence against civilians, food-related conflicts and food looting has increased since lockdowns. Food vulnerability has been a contributing factor. A 10% increase in the local price index is associated with an increase of 0.7 percentage points in violence against civilians. Nonetheless, for every additional anti-poverty measure implemented in response to COVID-19 the probability of experiencing violence against civilians, riots and food-related conflicts declines by approximately 0.2 percentage points. These anti-poverty measures also reduce the number of fatalities associated with these conflicts. Overall, our findings reveal that food vulnerability has increased conflict risks, but also offer an optimistic view of the importance of the state in providing an extensive welfare safety net.
    Date: 2020–06
  37. By: Chowdhury, Rajiv; Luhar, Shammi; Khan, Nusrat; Choudhury, Sohel Reza; Matin, Imran; Franco, Oscar H
    Abstract: To limit the social, economic and psychological damage caused by strict social distancing interventions, many low and middle-income countries (LMICs) are seeking to ease restrictions. However, it is unknown what a ‘safe reopening’ entails in LMICs given suboptimal diagnostic and surveillance capabilities. Here we discuss three community-based public health measures (sustained mitigation, zonal lockdown and dynamic rolling lockdowns) which seek to adequately balance the public health and economic priorities. Each of these options have limitations and prerequisites that may be context-specific and should be considered before implementation, including implementation and maintenance costs, social and economic costs, context-specific epidemic growth and the existing health resources.
    Date: 2020–06–16
  38. 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
  39. By: Dave, Dhaval M. (Bentley University); Friedson, Andrew I. (University of Colorado Denver); Matsuzawa, Kyutaro (San Diego State University); McNichols, Drew (San Diego State University); Sabia, Joseph J. (San Diego State University)
    Abstract: Both the White House and state governors have explicitly linked thresholds of reduced COVID-19 case growth to the lifting of statewide shelter-in-place orders (SIPOs). This "hardwired" policy endogeneity creates empirical challenges in credibly isolating the causal effect of lifting a statewide SIPO on COVID-19-related health. To break this simultaneity problem, the current study exploits a unique natural experiment generated by a Wisconsin Supreme Court decision. On May 13, 2020, the Wisconsin Supreme Court abolished the state's "Safer at Home" order, ruling that the Wisconsin Department of Health Services unconstitutionally usurped legislative authority to review COVID-19 regulations. We capitalize on this sudden, dramatic, and largely unanticipated termination of a statewide SIPO to estimate its effect on social distancing and COVID-19 case growth. Using a synthetic control design, we find no evidence that the repeal of the state SIPO impacted social distancing, COVID-19 cases, or COVID-19-related mortality during the fortnight following enactment. Estimated effects were economically small and nowhere near statistically different from zero. We conclude that the impact of shelter-in-place orders is likely not symmetric across enactment and lifting of the orders.
    Keywords: coronavirus, COVID-19, shelter-in-place order, synthetic control
    JEL: H75 I18
    Date: 2020–05
  40. By: Simon Porcher (IAE Paris - Sorbonne Business School)
    Abstract: Following the COVID-19 outbreak, governments all around the world have implemented public health and economic measures to contain the spread of the virus and to support the economy. Public health measures include domestic lockdown, school closures and bans on mass gatherings among others. Economic measures cover wage support, cash transfers, interest rates cuts, tax cuts and delays, and support to exporters or importers. This paper presents a unique living dataset of governments' responses to COVID-19. The dataset codes the various policy interventions with their dates at the country-level for more than 200 countries from January 1 to May 27, 2020. The generation of detailed data on the measures taken by governments can help generate robust evidence to support public health and economic decision making.
    Date: 2020–06–11
  41. By: Decerf,Benoit; Ferreira,Francisco H. G.; Mahler,Daniel Gerszon; Sterck,Olivier
    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: Inequality,Law and Justice Institutions,Population&Development,Health Care Services Industry,International Trade and Trade Rules
    Date: 2020–06–01
  42. By: Jules H. van Binsbergen; Christian C. Opp
    Abstract: We analyze the effectiveness of preventive investments aimed at increasing agents' life expectancy, with a focus on influenza and COVID-19 mitigation. Maximizing overall life expectancy requires allocating resources across hazards so as to equalize investments' marginal effectiveness. Based on estimates for the marginal effectiveness of influenza vaccines, we determine the level of COVID-19 mitigation investments that would imply such equalization. Given current projections for COVID-19 mitigation costs, our results suggest that wide-spread influenza vaccination would be an effective life-preserving investment.
    JEL: G31 H51 I1 I18
    Date: 2020–06
  43. By: Jean-Victor Alipour; Harald Fadinger; Jan Schymik
    Abstract: This paper studies the relation between work and public health during the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany. Combining administrative data on SARS-CoV-2 infections and short-time work registrations, firm- and worker-level surveys and cell phone tracking data on mobility patterns, we find that working from home (WFH) is very effective in economic and public health terms. WFH effectively shields workers from short-term work, firms from COVID-19 distress and substantially reduces infection risks. Counties whose occupation structure allows for a larger fraction of work to be done from home experienced (i) much fewer short-time work registrations and (ii) less SARSCoV-2 cases. Health benefits of WFH appeared mostly in the early stage of the pandemic and became smaller once tight confinement rules were implemented. Before confinement, mobility levels were lower in counties with more WFH jobs and counties experienced a convergence in traffic levels once confinement was in place.
    Keywords: COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, working from home, labor supply shock, infections, mitigation, BIBB-BAuA
    JEL: J22 H12 I18 J68 R12 R23
    Date: 2020
  44. By: Bertocchi, Graziella; Dimico, Arcangelo
    Abstract: Discussion on the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on African Americans has been at center stage since the outbreak of the epidemic in the United States. To present day, however, lack of race-disaggregated individual data has prevented a rigorous assessment of the extent of this phenomenon and the reasons why blacks may be particularly vulnerable to the disease. Using individual and georeferenced death data collected daily by the Cook County Medical Examiner, we provide first evidence that race does affect COVID-19 outcomes. The data confirm that in Cook County blacks are overrepresented in terms of COVID-19 related deaths since-as of June 16, 2020-they constitute 35 percent of the dead, so that they are dying at a rate 1.3 times higher that their population share. Furthermore, by combining the spatial distribution of mortality with the 1930s redlining maps for the Chicago area, we obtain a block group level panel dataset of weekly deaths over the period January 1, 2020-June 16, 2020, over which we establish that, after the outbreak of the epidemic, historically lower-graded neighborhoods display a sharper increase in mortality, driven by blacks, while no pre-treatment differences are detected. Thus, we uncover a persistence influence of the racial segregation induced by the discriminatory lending practices of the 1930s, by way of a diminished resilience of the black population to the shock represented by the COVID-19 outbreak. A heterogeneity analysis reveals that the main channels of transmission are socioeconomic status and household composition, whose influence is magnified in combination with a higher black share.
    Keywords: COVID-19,deaths,blacks,redlining,vulnerability,Cook County,Chicago
    JEL: I14 J15 N32 N92 R38
    Date: 2020
  45. By: Laliotis, Ioannis; Minos, Dimitrios
    Abstract: This paper investigates the “cultural” transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak.Using West Germany data we observe that in predominantly Catholic regions with stronger social and family ties, the spread and the resulting deaths per capita were much higher compared to non-Catholic ones at the NUTS-3 level. This finding could help explain the rapid spread and high death toll of the virus in some European countries compared to others in the initial stage. Looking at differences within a specific country in a well identified setting eliminates biases due to different social structures, healthcare systems, specific policies and measures, and testing procedures for the virus that can confound estimates and hinder comparability across countries. Further,we use individual level data as well as Apple mobility data to investigate potential mechanisms. The results highlight the cultural dimension of the spread and could suggest the implementation of targeted mitigation measures in light of disease outbreaks
    Date: 2020–06–16
  46. By: Mitze, Timo (University of Southern Denmark); Kosfeld, Reinhold (University of Kassel); Rode, Johannes (Darmstadt University of Technology); Wälde, Klaus (University of Mainz)
    Abstract: We use the synthetic control method to analyze the effect of face masks on the spread of Covid-19 in Germany. Our identification approach exploits regional variation in the point in time when face masks became compulsory. Depending on the region we analyse, we find that face masks reduced the cumulative number of registered Covid-19 cases between 2.3% and 13% over a period of 10 days after they became compulsory. Assessing the credibility of the various estimates, we conclude that face masks reduce the daily growth rate of reported infections by around 40%.
    Keywords: COVID-19, public health measures, face masks, synthetic control method, Germany
    JEL: I18 C23
    Date: 2020–06
  47. By: Guillaume Vandenbroucke
    Abstract: I present a model where work implies social interactions and the spread of a disease is described by an SIR-type framework where both susceptible and infectious are asymptomatic. Upon the outbreak of a disease a lower contact rate can be achieved at the cost of lower consumption. Individuals do not internalize the effects of their decisions on the evolution of the epidemic while the planner does. Specifically, the planner internalizes that a low contact rate early in the epidemic implies a low stock of infectious in the future; and a low stock of infectious in the future permits an increase in the contact rate without risking additional infections. Since a low contact rate is associated with low consumption, the planner effectively substitutes consumption early in the epidemic for consumption later. The individual's response does not, hence the planner obtains a flatter infection curve than that generated by the individual's response, even though the planner's objective is not to "flatten the curve."
    Date: 2020–06
  48. By: David McAdams
    Abstract: This paper develops a Nash-equilibrium extension of the classic SIR model of infectious-disease epidemiology ("Nash SIR"), endogenizing people's decisions whether to engage in economic activity during a viral epidemic and allowing for complementarity in social-economic activity. An equilibrium epidemic is one in which Nash equilibrium behavior during the epidemic generates the epidemic. There may be multiple equilibrium epidemics, in which case the epidemic trajectory can be shaped through the coordination of expectations, in addition to other sorts of interventions such as stay-at-home orders and accelerated vaccine development. An algorithm is provided to compute all equilibrium epidemics.
    Date: 2020–06
  49. By: Panos Toulis
    Abstract: We propose a partial identification method for estimating disease prevalence from serology studies. Our data are results from antibody tests in some population sample, where the test parameters, such as the true/false positive rates, are unknown. Our method scans the entire parameter space, and rejects parameter values using the joint data density as the test statistic. The proposed method is conservative for marginal inference, in general, but its key advantage over more standard approaches is that it is valid in finite samples even when the underlying model is not point identified. Moreover, our method requires only independence of serology test results, and does not rely on asymptotic arguments, normality assumptions, or other approximations. We use recent Covid-19 serology studies in the US, and show that the parameter confidence set is generally wide, and cannot support definite conclusions. Specifically, recent serology studies from California suggest a prevalence anywhere in the range 0%-2% (at the time of study), and are therefore inconclusive. However, this range could be narrowed down to 0.7%-1.5% if the actual false positive rate of the antibody test was indeed near its empirical estimate (~0.5%). In another study from New York state, Covid-19 prevalence is confidently estimated in the range 13%-17% in mid-April of 2020, which also suggests significant geographic variation in Covid-19 exposure across the US. Combining all datasets yields a 5%-8% prevalence range. Our results overall suggest that serology testing on a massive scale can give crucial information for future policy design, even when such tests are imperfect and their parameters unknown.
    Date: 2020–06
  50. By: Janssen, Aljoscha (Singapore Management University); Shapiro, Matthew (Singapore Management university)
    Abstract: Limiting the spread of contagious diseases can involve both government-managed and voluntary efforts. Governments have a number of policy options beyond direct intervention that can shape individuals’ responses to a pandemic and its associated costs. During its first wave of COVID-19 cases, Singapore was among a few countries that attempted to adjust behavior through the public provision of detailed case information. Singapore’s Ministry of Health maintained and shared precise, daily information detailing local travel behavior and residences of COVID-19 cases. We use this transparency policy along with device-level cellphone data to quantify how local and national COVID-19 case announcements trigger differential behavioral changes. We find evidence that individuals are three times more responsive to outbreaks in granularly defined locales. Conditional on keeping infection rates at a manageable level, the results suggest economic value in this type of transparency by mitigating precautionary activity reductions.
    Keywords: COVID-19; Transparency; Precautionary behavior
    JEL: H12 I18 R50
    Date: 2020–06–22
  51. By: Cummins, Steven (London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine); Berger, Nicolas; Cornelsen, Laura; Eling, Judith; Er, Vanessa; Greener, Robert; Kalbus, Alexandra; Karapici, Amanda; Law, Cherry; Ndlovu, Denise
    Abstract: COVID-19 has focused minds on the resilience of the urban food system in supplying adequate food to the whole population as the result of a massive external shock. In this commentary we sketch out four of the plausible changes to urban food retail systems that might occur as a result of the pandemic in the UK, and how this might affect population diet and dietary inequalities.
    Date: 2020–05–14
  52. By: Sonia Oreffice (University of Surrey); Climent Quintana-Domeque (University of Exeter)
    Abstract: We investigate gender differences across socioeconomic and wellbeing dimensions after three months of lockdown in the UK, using an online sample of approximately 1,500 respondents in Prolific, representative of the UK population with regards to age, sex and ethnicity. We find that women’s mental health is worse than men’s along the four metrics we collected data on, that women are more concerned about getting and spreading the virus, and that women perceive the virus as more prevalent and lethal than men do. Women are also more likely to expect a new lockdown or virus outbreak by the end of 2020, and are more pessimistic about the current and future state of the UK economy, as measured by their forecasted present and future unemployment rates. Consistent with their more pessimistic views about the economy, women choose to donate more to food banks. Women are more likely to have lost their job because of the pandemic, and working women are more likely to hold more coronavirus-risky jobs than men. We also find that between February and June 2020 women have decreased their work hours, but increased housework and childcare much more than men. These gender inequalities are not driven by differences in age, ethnicity, education, family structure, income in 2019, current employment status, place of residence or living in rural/urban areas.
    Keywords: coronavirus, sex, inequity, well-being, Health, employment, perceptions, donations
    JEL: J16 I14 J64 D19
    Date: 2020–07
  53. By: Ling, Gabriel Hoh Teck; Ho, Christina Mee Chyong
    Abstract: The health crisis of the COVID-19 outbreak has global impacts on humanity and the economy. Such pandemic effects also influence human behaviour; issues of panic buying (overbuying) and noncompliance with government orders and law among individuals are evident. However, the underlying understanding of such behaviours due to the pandemic remains unclear. Therefore, this perspective paper adopts the social dilemma theory and microeconomics concepts to analyse and explain the effects of COVID-19 on social behavioural reactions. It attempts to address the questions of what and why are the behaviours of individuals shown during the coronavirus pandemic and showcase how the theory is associated with the current social phenomena. Real scenarios based on media reporting from the sociodemographic context of Malaysia, concerning the following issues; (i) competition over daily essentials; (ii) self-honesty of individuals; and (iii) adherence to government policies and measures enforcement (governance) were discussed. A conceptual framework was developed to illustrate interrelationships between social dilemma concepts and the phenomena. In essence, due to fear, uncertainty, and greed, self-interest and opportunistic (defective/unethical) behaviours of most individuals prevailing over societal collective interest amid the pandemic have been prevalently observed in the above instances, although a cooperative choice can eventually result in a better outcome for everyone. Not only do these non-cooperative behaviours of individuals create inconveniences, dissatisfactions, and other forms of negative externalities, they also incentivise others to act selfishly, if no restrictions are imposed, which may eventually cause government intervention failures. This paper demonstrates the relevancy of the social dilemmas theory in better understanding fundamental human behavioural reactions amid the health crisis and the importance of incorporating the findings into government policymaking. These sociopsychological considerations help the government formulate holistic measures, namely stringent sanctions and monitoring enforcement, as well as incentivising cooperative and compliant behaviours of the public, which then contribute to curbing the COVID-19 pandemic more effectively.
    Date: 2020–04–25

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