nep-hea New Economics Papers
on Health Economics
Issue of 2020‒09‒28
47 papers chosen by
Nicolas R. Ziebarth
Cornell University

  1. Long-Term Care Insurance : Information Frictions and Selection By Martin Boyer; Philippe de Donder; Claude Fluet; Marie-Louise Leroux; Pierre-Carl Michaud
  2. The Social Determinants of Choice Quality: Evidence from Health Insurance in the Netherlands By Benjamin R. Handel; Jonathan T. Kolstad; Thomas Minten; Johannes Spinnewijn
  3. What Good Are Treatment Effects without Treatment? Mental Health and the Reluctance to Use Talk Therapy By Christopher J. Cronin; Matthew P. Forsstrom; Nicholas W. Papageorge
  4. The Role of Beliefs in Long Sickness Absence: Experimental Evidence from a Psychological Intervention By Pons Rotger, Gabriel; Rosholm, Michael
  5. Heterogeneous Effects Of Health Insurance On Birth Related Outcomes: Unpacking Compositional Vs. Direct Changes By Jie Ma; Kosali I. Simon
  6. The Economic Impacts of Direct Natural Disaster Exposure By Johar, Meliyanni; Johnston, David W.; Shields, Michael A.; Siminski, Peter; Stavrunova, Olena
  7. The Influence of Early-life Economic Shocks on Long-term Outcomes: Evidence from the U.S. Great Depression By Duque, Valentina; Schmitz, Lauren L.
  8. The Relationship between Early-Life Conditions in the Home Country and Adult Outcomes among Child Immigrants in the United States By Gevrek, Deniz; Gevrek, Z. Eylem; Guven, Cahit
  9. Higher Order Risk Preferences: New Experimental Measures, Determinants and Field Behavior By Schneider, Sebastian; Sutter, Matthias
  10. Stung by Pension Reforms: The Impact of a Change in State Pension Age on Mental Health and Life Satisfaction of Affected Women By Della Giusta, Marina; Longhi, Simonetta
  11. Best Practice for Urban Road Safety: Case Studies By ITF
  12. The Price of Indoor Air Pollution: Evidence from Radon Maps and the Housing Market By Pinchbeck, Edward W.; Roth, Sefi; Szumilo, Nikodem; Vanino, Enrico
  13. The Impact of HIV/Aids on Human Capital Investment in Sub-Saharan Africa: New Evidence By Chicoine, Luke; Lyons, Emily; Sahue, Alexia
  14. Large and persistent life expectancy disparities among India’s social groups By Gupta, Aashish; Sudharsanan, Nikkil
  15. Perinatal Health among 1 Million Chinese-Americans By Douglas Almond; Yi Cheng
  16. Holiday and Weight Gain: Evidence from the National Day Holiday in China By Luo, Hengrong; Yu, Xiaohua
  17. Adverse Selection in the Marriage Market: HIV Testing and Marriage in Rural Malawi By Angelucci, Manuela; Bennett, Daniel
  18. Short-term evidence on wellbeing of rural Ethiopian households during the COVID-19 pandemic By Alderman, Harold; Gilligan, Daniel; Hidrobo, Melissa; Leight, Jessica; Taffesse, Alemayehu Seyoum; Tambet, Heleene
  19. The Effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Government- and Market-Attitudes By Goff, Sandra; Ifcher, John; Zarghamee, Homa; Reents, Alex; Wade, Patrick
  20. How Are Small Businesses Adjusting to COVID-19? Early Evidence from a Survey By Alexander W. Bartik; Marianne Bertrand; Zoe B. Cullen; Edward L. Glaeser; Michael Luca; Christopher T. Stanton
  21. Face-Saving Strategies Increase Self-Reported Non-Compliance with COVID-19 Preventive Measures: Experimental Evidence from 12 Countries By Daoust, Jean-François; Bélanger, Éric; Dassonneville, Ruth; Lachapelle, Erick; Nadeau, Richard; Becher, Michael; Brouard, Sylvain; Foucault, Martial; Hönnige, Christoph; Stegmueller, Daniel
  22. Who's In and Who's Out under Workplace COVID Symptom Screening? By Krista J. Ruffini; Aaron Sojourner; Abigail K. Wozniak
  23. Expected Health Effects of Reduced Air Pollution from COVID-19 Social Distancing By Steve Cicala; Stephen P. Holland; Erin T. Mansur; Nicholas Z. Muller; Andrew J. Yates
  24. Words can hurt: how political communication can change the pace of an epidemic By Mariani, Lucas Argentieri; Gagete-Miranda, Jessica; Rettl, Paula
  25. Heard immunity: effective persuasion for a future COVID-19 vaccine By Duquette, Nicolas
  26. Failing to Pull Together: South Africa's Troubled Response to COVID-19 By Naudé, Wim; Cameron, Martin
  27. The Great Lockdown and the Big Stimulus: Tracing the Pandemic Possibility Frontier for the U.S. By Greg Kaplan; Benjamin Moll; Giovanni L. Violante
  28. The 1989 Influenza Pandemic and its Lessons for COVID-19 By Brian Beach; Karen Clay; Martin Saavedra
  29. Modern Infectious Diseases: Macroeconomic Impacts and Policy Responses By Bloom, David E.; Kuhn, Michael; Prettner, Klaus
  30. COVID-19 Pounds: Quarantine and Weight Gain By Hasanzadeh, Samira; Alishahi, Modjgan
  31. True Covid-19 mortality rates from administrative data By Depalo, Domenico
  32. Working Parents, Financial Insecurity, and Child-Care: Mental Health in the Time of COVID-19 By Tani, Massimiliano; Cheng, Zhiming; Mendolia, Silvia; Paloyo, Alfredo R.; Savage, David
  33. The Effects of Air Pollution on COVID-19 Related Mortality in Northern Italy By Coker, Eric; Cavalli, Laura; Fabrizi, Enrico; Guastella, Gianni; Lippo, Enrico; Parisi, Maria Laura; Pontarollo, Nicola; Rizzati, Massimiliano; Varacca, Alessandro; Vergalli, Sergio
  34. The Forgotten Numbers: A Closer Look at COVID-19 Non-Fatal Valuations By Kniesner, Thomas J.; Sullivan, Ryan
  35. Influenza Vaccination Behavior and Media Reporting of Adverse Events By Brilli, Ylenia; Lucifora, Claudio; Russo, Alessia; Tonello, Marco
  36. Encouraging COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake through Effective Health Communication By Motta, Matthew; Sylvester, Steven; Callaghan, Timothy; Trujillo, Kristin Lunz
  37. 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
  38. Misinformation During a Pandemic By Leonardo Bursztyn; Aakaash Rao; Christopher Roth; David Yanagizawa-Drott
  39. Remote Work and the Heterogeneous Impact of COVID-19 on Employment and Health By Angelucci, Manuela; Angrisani, Marco; Bennett, Daniel; Kapteyn, Arie; Schaner, Simone G.
  40. On Socializing and Social Distancing in Markets: Implications for Retail Prices, Store-level Consumer Density, and Disease Transmission By Ricardo Lagos
  41. Escaping to nature in pandemic: a natural experiment of COVID-19 in Asian cities By LU, Yi; Zhao, Jianting; Wu, Xueying; Lo, Siu Ming
  42. Belief in Science Influences Physical Distancing in Response to COVID-19 Lockdown Policies By Adam Brzezinski; Valentin Kecht; David Van Dijcke; Austin L. Wright
  43. A Review of the Economic Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Economic Policies in Nepal By Raut, Nirmal Kumar
  44. Rugged Individualism and Collective (In)action During the COVID-19 Pandemic By Samuel Bazzi; Martin Fiszbein; Mesay Gebresilasse
  45. Firm behavior during an epidemic By Brotherhood, Luiz; Jerbashian, Vahagn
  46. Stadium attendance demand during the COVID-19 crisis: Early empirical evidence from Belarus By J. James Reade; Dominik Schreyer; Carl Singleton
  47. Lancet COVID-19 Commission Statement on the occasion of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly By Jeffrey D Sachs; Salim Abdool Karim; Lara Aknin; Joseph Allen; Kirsten Brosbol; Gabriela Cuevas Barron; Peter Daszak; María Fernanda Espinosa; Vitor Gaspar; Alejandro Gaviria; Andy Haines; Peter Hotez; Phoebe Koundouri; Jong-Koo Lee; Muhammad Pate; Paul Polman; Srinath Reddy; Ismail Serageldin; Raj Shah; John Thwaites; Vaira Vike-Freiberga; Chen Wang; Miriam Khamadi Were; Felipe Larrain Bascunan; Lan Xue; Min Zhu; Chandrika Bahadur; Maria Elena Bottazzi; Yanis Ben Amor; Lauren Barredo; Ozge Karadag Caman; Guillaume Lafortune; Emma Torres; Ismini Ethridge; Juliana G E Bartels

  1. By: Martin Boyer (HEC Montréal - HEC Montréal); Philippe de Donder (TSE - Toulouse School of Economics - UT1 - Université Toulouse 1 Capitole - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement); Claude Fluet (ULaval - Université Laval [Québec]); Marie-Louise Leroux (UQAM - Université du Québec à Montréal = University of Québec in Montréal); Pierre-Carl Michaud (HEC Montréal - HEC Montréal)
    Abstract: This paper conducts a stated-choice experiment where respondents are asked to rate various insurance products aimed to protect against nancial risks associated with long-term care needs. Using exogenous variation in prices from the survey design and individual cost estimates, these stated-choice probabilities are used to predict market equilibrium for long-term care insurance. Our results are twofold. First, information frictions are pervasive. Second, measuring the welfare losses associated with frictions in a framework that also allows for selection, it is found that information frictions reduce equilibrium take-up and lead to large welfare losses while selection plays little role.
    Keywords: Long-term care insurance,adverse selection,stated-preference,health,insurance
    Date: 2020–08
  2. By: Benjamin R. Handel; Jonathan T. Kolstad; Thomas Minten; Johannes Spinnewijn
    Abstract: Market provision of impure public goods such as insurance retirement savings and education is common and growing as policy makers seek to offer more choice and gain efficiencies. This approach induces an important trade-off between improved surplus from matching individuals to products and misallocation due to well documented choice errors in these markets. We study this trade-off in the health insurance market in the Netherlands, with a specific focus on misallocation and inequality. We characterize choice quality as a function of predicted health risk and leverage rich administrative data to study how it depends on individual human capital, socioeconomic status and social and information networks. We find that choice quality is low on average, with many people foregoing options that deliver substantive value. We also find a strong choice quality gradient with respect to key socioeconomic variables. Individuals with higher education levels and more analytic degrees or professions make markedly better decisions. Social influence on choices further increases inequality in decision making. Using panel variation in exposure to peers we find strong within firm, location and family impacts on choice quality. Finally, we use our estimates to model the consumer surplus effects of different counterfactual scenarios. While smart default policies could improve welfare substantially, including the choice of a high-deductible option delivers little welfare gain, especially for low-income individuals who make lower quality choices and are in worse health.
    JEL: D91 H42 I13 I14
    Date: 2020–09
  3. By: Christopher J. Cronin; Matthew P. Forsstrom; Nicholas W. Papageorge
    Abstract: Mounting evidence across disciplines shows that psychotherapy is more curative than antidepressants for mild-to-moderate depression and anxiety. Yet, few patients use it. This paper develops and estimates a structural model of dynamic decision-making to analyze mental health treatment choices in the context of depression and anxiety. The model incorporates myriad costs suggested in previous work as critical impediments to psychotherapy use. We also integrate links between mental health and labor outcomes to more fully capture the benefits of mental health improvements and the costs of psychotherapy. Finally, the model addresses measurement error in widely-used mental health variables. Using the estimated model, we find that mental health improvements are valuable, both directly through increased utility and indirectly through earnings. We also show that even though psychotherapy improves mental health, counterfactual policy changes, e.g., lowering the price or removing other costs, do very little to increase uptake. We highlight two conclusions. As patient reluctance to use psychotherapy is nearly impervious to a host of a priori reasonable policies, we need to look elsewhere to understand it (e.g., biases in beliefs about treatment effects, stigma, or other factors that are as yet unknown). More broadly, large benefits of psychotherapy estimated in randomized trials tell only half the story. If patients do not use the treatment outside of an experimental setting—and we fail to understand why or how to get them to—estimated treatment effects cannot be leveraged to improve population mental health or social welfare.
    JEL: I10 I12 J22 J24
    Date: 2020–08
  4. By: Pons Rotger, Gabriel (VIVE - The Danish Centre for Applied Social Science); Rosholm, Michael (Aarhus University)
    Abstract: This paper makes use of the randomized allocation of workers on sick leave in Denmark into self-management support, to examine the role of beliefs about control for prolonged absenteeism due to illness. Our results demonstrate that the ability of the intervention to lead sick-listed workers toward resuming employment crucially depends on workers' control beliefs. The intervention increases the perception of control among control pessimists and substantially accelerates the decision to return to work. Furthermore, we identify a group of control-optimist workers for whom "learning" about control beliefs is self-defeating, and leads them toward reduced capacity in terms of return-to-work performance.
    Keywords: sickness insurance, personality traits, randomized control trial, machine learning
    JEL: J21 C93 D91
    Date: 2020–08
  5. By: Jie Ma; Kosali I. Simon
    Abstract: When women of childbearing age gain health insurance, we expect their birth outcomes to improve, but comparing births that occur before and after policy changes may confound two separate impacts of coverage. For one, health insurance could affect who gives birth, through reduced costs of contraception. Health insurance could also directly improve maternal and child health among those who give birth, through additional prenatal resources. We address this question using the Affordable Care Act young adult provision, comparing birth related outcomes for those aged 24-25 years after the law, to outcomes among older young adults. We show that since the law subsidized contraceptives mainly among higher socioeconomic groups, the composition of mothers shifted towards less advantaged groups. Accounting for this shift, we find evidence of direct improvements in prenatal care and pregnancy-related health (reduced gestational diabetes and hypertension).
    JEL: I1
    Date: 2020–08
  6. By: Johar, Meliyanni (University of Technology, Sydney); Johnston, David W. (Monash University); Shields, Michael A. (Monash University); Siminski, Peter (University of Technology, Sydney); Stavrunova, Olena (University of Technology, Sydney)
    Abstract: This paper studies how having your home damaged or destroyed by a natural disaster impacts on economic and financial outcomes. Our context is Australia, where disasters are frequent. Estimates of regression models with individual, area and time fixed-effects, applied to 10 waves of data (2009-2018), indicate that residential destruction has no average impact on employment and income, but increases financial hardship and financial risk aversion. These impacts are generally short-lived, larger for renters than home owners, and greater for smaller isolated disasters. Using a Group Fixed Effects estimator, we find that around 20% of the population have low resilience to financial shocks, and for these individuals we find a substantive increase in financial hardships. The most vulnerable are the young, single parents, those in poor health, those of lower socioeconomic status, and those with little social support. These results can help target government aid after future natural disasters to those with the greatest need.
    Keywords: natural disasters, financial hardship, risk aversion, mental health, resilience
    JEL: Q54 J21 I31 C23 H84
    Date: 2020–08
  7. By: Duque, Valentina; Schmitz, Lauren L.
    Abstract: We show that health and productivity around retirement age, and earnings over the life cycle, vary with exposure to economic conditions in early life. Using state-year-level variation from the most severe and prolonged economic downturn in American history—the Great Depression—combined with restricted micro-data from the Health and Retirement Study, we find that changes in macroeconomic indicators before age 6 are associated with changes in economic well-being, earnings, metabolic syndrome, and physical limitations decades later. We also document large declines in long-term mortality. Results are not driven by endogenous fertility responses throughout the 1930s. Our results help inform the design of retirement and healthcare systems and the long-term costs of business cycles.
    Keywords: Human Capital; Poverty; Unemployment; Aging
    Date: 2020–09
  8. By: Gevrek, Deniz (Texas A&M University Corpus Christi); Gevrek, Z. Eylem (Universidade Catolica Portuguesa, Porto); Guven, Cahit (Deakin University)
    Abstract: We examine the impact of health and economic conditions at birth on the adult outcomes of child immigrants using the Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Study. Our sample consists of children from 39 countries who were brought to the United States before the age of 13. We estimate immigrant outcomes as a function of the infant mortality rate (IMR) and GDP per capita of their home country in the year of birth, controlling for birth-year, year-of-arrival and country-of-birth fixed effects, as well as demographic characteristics. IMR has a significant negative impact on English reading ability and GPA in middle school. IMR significantly decreases first job prestige, years of schooling, working hours, log earnings and income satisfaction. Some of these effects appear to be working through the lower middle school GPA. IMR does not influence self-rated health or labour market participation in adulthood, and there is no statistically significant relationship between GDP per capita and adult outcomes. Our estimates are of economic significance: the impact of being born in 1975 versus 1976 in Nicaragua in terms of the impact of IMR on earnings is equal to the gender effect on earnings, while the effect on income satisfaction of being born in Cuba in 1975 versus 1976 in terms of the impact of IMR is about equal to the father's high school completion effect. Our results cannot be explained by selection on observables: the pre-migration characteristics of children and parents are not associated significantly with the health and economic conditions at birth. Also, several tests show that our results cannot be explained by potential selection on unobservables. These results are robust to sample attrition and the inclusion of cohort trends and interaction effects between age-at-arrival and home country conditions.
    Keywords: adult outcomes United States, infant mortality, birth conditions, immigrants
    JEL: I14 J13 J15 J28
    Date: 2020–08
  9. By: Schneider, Sebastian (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods); Sutter, Matthias (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods)
    Abstract: We use a novel method to elicit and measure higher order risk preferences (prudence and temperance) in an experiment with 658 adolescents. In line with theoretical predictions, we find that higher order risk preferences particularly prudence are strongly related to adolescents' field behavior, including their financial decision making, eco-friendly behavior, and health status, including addictive behavior. Most importantly, we show that dropping prudence and temperance from the analysis of students' field behavior would yield largely misleading conclusions about the relation of risk aversion to these domains of field behavior. Thus our paper puts previous work that ignored higher order risk preferences into an encompassing perspective and claries which orders of risk preferences can help understand field behavior of adolescents.
    Keywords: higher order risk preferences, prudence, temperance, risk aversion, field behavior, adolescents, health, addictive behavior, smartphone addiction, experiment
    JEL: C93 D81 D91 J13
    Date: 2020–08
  10. By: Della Giusta, Marina (University of Reading); Longhi, Simonetta (University of Reading)
    Abstract: Several reforms increased the state pension age (SPA) in the UK and equalised it to age 65 for both men and women. We use panel data and a difference-in-difference approach to comprehensively analyse the direct and indirect effects of these reforms, investigating mechanisms for indirect effects. We also analyse the heterogeneity of the effects of smaller versus larger increases in SPA, by partnership status, as well as spill-over effects to male partners. Consistent with previous research, we find a positive impact of the reform on employment and labour force participation, but also large negative impacts on various aspects of personal, financial, and mental wellbeing. The effect is larger for women who have to wait longer to reach their SPA, and smaller for women with a partner (compared to those without a partner). The effect of the reform partially spills over to affected women partner's labour market participation. Our results can be generalised to other countries that are seeking to implement similar reforms.
    Keywords: policy reform, retirement, labour supply, care supply, leisure, wellbeing
    JEL: I31 J22 J26
    Date: 2020–08
  11. By: ITF
    Abstract: This report presents seven case studies of cities that are implementing data-driven road safety policies. It highlights relevant experiences aimed at reducing the number of traffic casualties and protecting vulnerable road users in cities. The case studies from Barcelona, Bogota, Buenos Aires, Fortaleza, London, New York and Rotterdam illustrate the diverse approaches to better understand road crashes and to prevent road traffic deaths and serious injuries.
    Date: 2020–09–10
  12. By: Pinchbeck, Edward W. (University of Birmingham); Roth, Sefi (London School of Economics); Szumilo, Nikodem (University College London); Vanino, Enrico (University of Sheffield)
    Abstract: This paper uses the housing market to examine the costs of indoor air pollution. We focus on radon, an indoor air pollutant which is the largest source of exposure to natural ionising radiation and the leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. To overcome potential confounders, we exploit a natural experiment whereby a risk map update in England induces exogenous variation in published radon risk levels. Using a repeat-sales approach, we find a significant negative relationship between changes in published radon risk levels and residential property prices of affected properties. Interestingly, we do not find that the effect of increasing or decreasing radon risk is symmetric. We also show that the update of the risk map led higher socio-economic groups (SEGs) to move away from radon affected areas, attracting lower SEG residents via lower prices. Finally, we propose and utilise a new theoretical framework to account for preference based sorting which allows us to calculate that the average willingness to pay to avoid radon risk is $3,360.
    Keywords: indoor air pollution, risk information, house prices, radon, neighbourhood sorting
    JEL: R21 R28 Q53 H23
    Date: 2020–09
  13. By: Chicoine, Luke (Bates College); Lyons, Emily (Bates College); Sahue, Alexia (Bates College)
    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: 2020–08
  14. By: Gupta, Aashish; Sudharsanan, Nikkil
    Abstract: India has one of the most rigid systems of social stratification in the world, yet little is known about how this system has shaped life expectancy in the country. We provide the first direct estimates of caste and tribe differences in life expectancy in India using survey data spanning two decades. We find that individuals from the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes have drastically lower life expectancies than high-caste individuals (between 4.2-4.4 years for women and 6.1-7.0 years for men in 2013-2016.). These disparities have persisted over a 20-year period. Importantly, mortality disparities are present across the entire life-course and increasingly driven by older age mortality. Our findings reveal a pressing need for far greater examination of the health of marginalized populations in India.
    Date: 2020–09–09
  15. By: Douglas Almond; Yi Cheng
    Abstract: The literature on "missing girls" suggests a net preference for sons both in China and among Chinese immigrants to the West. Perhaps surprisingly, we find that newborn Chinese-American girls are treated more intensively in US hospitals: they are kept longer following delivery, have more medical procedures performed, and have more hospital charges than predicted (by the non-Chinese gender difference). What might explain more aggressive medical treatment? We posit that hospitals are responding to worse health at birth of Chinese-American girls. We document higher rates of low birth weight, congenital anomalies, maternal hypertension, and lower APGAR scores among Chinese Americans girls – outcomes recorded prior to intensive neonatal medical care and relative to the non-Chinese gender gap. To the best of our knowledge, we are the first to find that son preference may also compromise "survivor" health at birth. On net, compromised newborn health seems to outweigh the benefit of more aggressive neonatal hospital care for girls. Relative to non-Chinese gender differences, death on the first day of life and in the post-neonatal period is more common among Chinese-American girls, i.e. later than sex selection is typically believed to occur.
    JEL: I1 I12 J13 J16
    Date: 2020–09
  16. By: Luo, Hengrong; Yu, Xiaohua
    Abstract: We use the regression discontinuity model and CHNS (China Health and Nutrition Survey) data, to study the body weight gain effect of the National Day holiday in China. We find that Chinese adults tend to gain 1.561 kg during the National Day holiday. The weight gain effect shrinks to 0.967 kg or even 0.491 kg, when we extend the time window from one-week level to two-week level and the one-month level. It implies that holiday weight gain could lead to the long-term body weight accumulation. Besides, the middleage group is the most fragile group to the holiday weight gain. Young and middle aged males and old females suffer more to the weight gain compared to their counterpart.
    Keywords: Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety
    Date: 2020–09
  17. By: Angelucci, Manuela (University of Texas at Austin); Bennett, Daniel (University of Southern California)
    Abstract: Asymmetric information in the marriage market may cause adverse selection and delay marriage if partner quality is revealed over time. Sexual safety is an important but hidden partner attribute, especially in areas where HIV is endemic. A model of positive assortative matching with both observable (attractiveness) and hidden (sexual safety) attributes predicts that removing the asymmetric information about sexual safety accelerates marriage and pregnancy for safe respondents, and more so if they are also attractive. Frequent HIV testing may enable safe people to signal and screen. Consistent with these predictions, we show that a high-frequency, "opt-out" HIV testing intervention changed beliefs about partner's safety and accelerated marriage and pregnancy, increasing the probabilities of marriage and pregnancy by 26 and 27 percent for baseline-unmarried women over 28 months. Estimates are larger for safe and attractive respondents. Conversely, a single-test intervention lacks these effects, consistent with other HIV testing evaluations in the literature. Our findings suggest that an endogenous response to HIV risk may explain why the HIV/AIDS epidemic has coincided with systematic marriage and pregnancy delays.
    Keywords: adverse selection, marriage, HIV
    JEL: J12 J13 I15 I18
    Date: 2020–08
  18. By: Alderman, Harold; Gilligan, Daniel; Hidrobo, Melissa; Leight, Jessica; Taffesse, Alemayehu Seyoum; Tambet, Heleene
    Abstract: In Ethiopia, as in much of sub-Saharan Africa, the first known case of coronavirus arrived in mid-March (on March 13, 2020), weeks after the pandemic had spread rapidly in parts of Europe and the United States. The government swiftly imposed restrictions to slow the spread of the virus, closing schools (on March 16, 2020), limiting travel and encouraging people to remain at home. Such restrictions were needed to keep the pandemic from overwhelming a healthcare system with limited capacity to respond to an infectious disease outbreak. Only limited information is available about the effect of these restrictions on economic activity, food security and livelihoods in Ethiopia. A survey of residents of Addis Ababa conducted in May 2020 found that more than half of households reported lower-than-expected incomes and more than one third were extremely stressed about the situation. These results further showed that poorer households were more severely affected, although the food security situation in Addis, while declining, was not yet dire.
    Keywords: ETHIOPIA, EAST AFRICA, AFRICA SOUTH OF SAHARA, AFRICA, Coronavirus, coronavirus disease, Coronavirinae, wellness, rural areas, surveys, livelihoods, household income, food security, social welfare, social safety nets, wellbeing
    Date: 2020
  19. By: Goff, Sandra (Skidmore College); Ifcher, John (Santa Clara University); Zarghamee, Homa (Barnard College); Reents, Alex (Santa Clara University); Wade, Patrick (Santa Clara University)
    Abstract: We study the COVID-19 pandemic's effect on college students' government- and market-attitudes using within-subject comparisons of survey responses elicited before and after the onset of the pandemic. We find that support for markets significantly declines after the onset of the pandemic, with students less likely to think markets are efficient and more likely to think they can cause harm. Support significantly increases for bigger government though this does not translate to increased support for specific redistributive policies (i.e., the minimum wage, food stamps, and taxes on estates or extremely high income), nor to increased support for the government to play a role in the various specific capacities listed in the survey (e.g., ensuring access to healthcare, responding to natural disasters, and helping people get out of poverty). Both contentment with and trust in government significantly decrease after the onset of the pandemic. Subgroup analyses indicate these results are largely driven by more politically progressive students.
    Keywords: COVID-19, pandemic, market attitudes, government attitudes, political ideology, redistribution
    JEL: H1 H5 P1
    Date: 2020–08
  20. By: Alexander W. Bartik (University of Illinois); Marianne Bertrand (University of Chicago - Booth School of Business and NBER); Zoe B. Cullen (Harvard Business School); Edward L. Glaeser (Harvard University - Department of Economics and NBER); Michael Luca (Harvard Business School and NBER); Christopher T. Stanton (Harvard Business School)
    Abstract: In addition to its impact on public health, COVID-19 has had a major impact on the economy. To shed light on how COVID-19 is affecting small businesses Ð and on the likely impact of the recent stimulus bill, we conducted a survey of more than 5,800 small businesses. Several main themes emerge from the results. First, mass layoffs and closures have already occurred. In our sample, 43 percent of businesses are temporarily closed, and businesses have Ð on average Ðreduced their employee counts by 40 percent relative to January. Second, consistent with previous literature, we find that many small businesses are financially fragile. For example, the median business has more than $10,000 in monthly expenses and less than one month of cash on hand. Third, businesses have widely varying beliefs about the likely duration of COVID related disruptions. Fourth, the majority of businesses planned to seek funding through the CARES act. However, many anticipated problems with accessing the aid, such as bureaucratic hassles and difficulties establishing eligibility.
    JEL: E65 L20
    Date: 2020
  21. By: Daoust, Jean-François; Bélanger, Éric (McGill University); Dassonneville, Ruth; Lachapelle, Erick; Nadeau, Richard; Becher, Michael; Brouard, Sylvain; Foucault, Martial; Hönnige, Christoph; Stegmueller, Daniel
    Abstract: Studies of citizens’ compliance with COVID-19 preventive measures routinely rely on survey data. While essential, public health restrictions provide clear signals of what is socially desirable in this context, creating a potential source of response bias in self-reported measures of compliance. In this research, we examine whether the results of a face-saving-strategy that was recently proposed by Daoust et al. (2020) to loosen this constraint are generalizable across twelve countries, and whether the treatment effect varies across subgroups. Our findings show that the face-saving strategy is a very useful tool in every country included, increasing respondents’ proclivity to report non-compliance by 9 to 16 percentage points. This effect holds for different subgroups based on gender, age and education. We conclude that the inclusion of this strategy should be the new standard for survey research that aims to provide crucial data on the current pandemic.
    Date: 2020–09–08
  22. By: Krista J. Ruffini; Aaron Sojourner; Abigail K. Wozniak
    Abstract: COVID symptom screening, a new workplace practice, is likely to affect many millions of American workers in the coming months. Eleven states already require and federal guidance recommends frequent screening of employees for infection symptoms. This paper provides some of the first empirical work exploring the tradeoffs employers face in using daily symptom screening. First, we find that common symptom checkers will likely screen out up to 7 percent of workers each day, depending on the measure used. Second, we find that the measures used will matter for three reasons: many respondents report any given symptom, survey design affects responses, and demographic groups report symptoms at different rates, even absent fluctuations in likely COVID exposure. This last pattern can potentially lead to disparate impacts, and is important from an equity standpoint.
    JEL: I1 J5 J7 K3 M5
    Date: 2020–09
  23. By: Steve Cicala (University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy and NBER); Stephen P. Holland (University of North Carolina at Greensboro - Department of Economics and NBER); Erin T. Mansur (Dartmouth - Tuck School of Business and NBER); Nicholas Z. Muller (Carnegie Mellon University and NBER); Andrew J. Yates (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
    Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in stay-at-home policies and other social distancing behaviors in the United States in spring of 2020. This paper examines the impact that these actions had on emissions and expected health effects through reduced personal vehicle travel and electricity consumption. Using daily cell phone mobility data for each U.S. county, we find that vehicle travel dropped about 40% by mid-April across the nation. States that imposed stay-at-home policies before March 28 decreased travel slightly more than other states, but travel in all states decreased significantly. Using data on hourly electricity consumption by electricity region (e.g., balancing authority), we find that electricity consumption fell about six percent on average by mid-April with substantial heterogeneity. Given these decreases in travel and electricity use, we estimate the county-level expected improvements in air quality, and therefore expected declines in mortality. Overall, we estimate that, for a month of social distancing, the expected premature deaths due to air pollution from personal vehicle travel and electricity consumption declined by approximately 360 deaths, or about 25% of the baseline 1500 deaths. In addition, we estimate that CO2 emissions from these sources fell by 46 million metric tons (a reduction of approximately 19%) over the same time frame.
    Keywords: Air pollution, COVID-19, Social Distancing
    Date: 2020
  24. By: Mariani, Lucas Argentieri; Gagete-Miranda, Jessica; Rettl, Paula
    Abstract: Compliance with mandated health measures has substantial effects on public health, particularly during epidemics. We analyze how political leaders influence such compliance by exploiting President Bolsonaro’s display of skepticism towards COVID-19 during pro-government demonstrations in Brazil. We compare trends of the disease spread around the demonstrations’ date in municipalities with different levels of support for the President. After the demonstrations, the disease spread faster in pro-Bolsonaro municipalities. The results are driven not only by people’s agglomerating during the demonstrations but also by lower compliance with social distancing. Finally, we rule out that pre-existing differences in health-related behavior explain the results.
    Date: 2020–04–30
  25. By: Duquette, Nicolas
    Abstract: A survey experiment exposes treatment groups to four messages supporting future vaccination against COVID-19. These treatments emphasize either the risks of the virus or the safety of vaccination, to the respondent personally or to others. For a nationally representative sample, self-reported intent to vaccinate is not significantly different from the control for any message. However, there is a substantial divergence between white non-Hispanic respondents, whose response to all four treatments is close to zero, and non-white or His- panic respondents, whose intention to vaccinate is over 50% higher in response to a message emphasizing prosociality and the safety of others.
    Date: 2020–09–09
  26. By: Naudé, Wim (RWTH Aachen University); Cameron, Martin (Trade Advisory Research (Pty) Ltd)
    Abstract: When South Africa implemented its non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) (its "lockdown") to stem the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, it was hailed as exemplary. By June 2020 however, the lockdown was in disarray: the number of confirmed infections continued to grow exponentially, placing the country amongst the ten most affected countries in the world, and on average eight public protest actions took place daily. Moreover, the business sector launched a campaign, supported by more than 50,000 businesses, to have government end the lockdown altogether. In this paper we argue that both government and the business sector's responses are problematic, and that this "failing to pull together" will be costly. We provide arguments that a smart and flexible lockdown, based on data, testing, decentralization, demographics and appropriate economic support measures, including export support, can save lives, improve trust in government, limit economic damages and moreover improve long-term recovery prospects.
    Keywords: COVID-19, coronavirus, South Africa, development, lockdown, health economics
    JEL: H12 I15 I18 O55
    Date: 2020–08
  27. By: Greg Kaplan; Benjamin Moll; Giovanni L. Violante
    Abstract: We provide a quantitative analysis of the trade-offs between health outcomes and the distribution of economic outcomes associated with alternative policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. We integrate an expanded SIR model of virus spread into a macroeconomic model with realistic income and wealth inequality, as well as occupational and sectoral heterogeneity. In the model, as in the data, economic exposure to the pandemic is strongly correlated with financial vulnerability, leading to very uneven economic losses across the population. We summarize our findings through a distributional pandemic possibility frontier, which shows the distribution of economic welfare costs associated with the different aggregate mortality rates arising under alternative containment and fiscal strategies. For all combinations of health and economic policies we consider, the economic welfare costs of the pandemic are large and heterogeneous. Thus, the choice governments face when designing policy is not just between lives and livelihoods, as is often emphasized, but also over who should bear the burden of the economic costs. We offer a quantitative framework to evaluate both trade-offs.
    JEL: E0
    Date: 2020–09
  28. By: Brian Beach (Vanderbilt University and NBER); Karen Clay (Carnegie Mellon University and NBER); Martin Saavedra (Oberlin College)
    Abstract: *This paper is part of a Symposium organized by Dr. Remi Jedwab of the George Washington University that will appear in the Journal of Economic Literature.* This article reviews the global health and economic consequences of the 1918 in uenza pandemic, with a particular focus on topics that have seen a renewed interest because of COVID-19. We begin by providing an overview of key contextual and epidemiological details as well as the data that are available to researchers. We then examine the effects on mortality, fertility, and the economy in the short and medium run. The role of nonpharmaceutical interventions in shaping those outcomes is discussed throughout. We then examine longer-lasting health consequences and their impact on human capital accumulation and socioeconomic status. Throughout the paper we highlight important areas for future work.
    Keywords: Pandemics; 1918 Influenza; COVID-19; epidemics;
    JEL: I10 N0 J10 J24
    Date: 2020
  29. By: Bloom, David E. (Harvard University); Kuhn, Michael (Vienna Institute of Demography); Prettner, Klaus (University of Hohenheim)
    Abstract: We discuss and review literature on the macroeconomic effects of epidemics and pandemics since the late 20th century. First, we cover the role of health in driving economic growth and well-being and discuss standard frameworks for assessing the economic burden of infectious diseases. Second, we sketch a general theoretical framework to evaluate the tradeoffs policymakers must consider when addressing infectious diseases and their macroeconomic repercussions. In so doing, we emphasize the dependence of economic consequences on (i) disease characteristics; (ii) inequalities among individuals in terms of susceptibility, preferences, and income; and (iii) cross-country heterogeneities in terms of their institutional and macroeconomic environments. Third, we study pharmaceutical and nonpharmaceutical policies aimed at mitigating and preventing infectious diseases and their macroeconomic repercussions. Fourth, we discuss the health toll and economic impacts of five infectious diseases: HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, influenza, and COVID-19. Although major epidemics and pandemics can take an enormous human toll and impose a staggering economic burden, early and targeted health and economic policy interventions can often mitigate both to a substantial degree.
    Keywords: inequality, pandemics, epidemics, COVID-19, HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, influenza, infectious disease, economic burden of disease, economic growth, health, economic epidemiology, SIR Model, general equilibrium macroeconomic models, welfare, human capital, health policy
    JEL: D58 E10 E20 I12 I15 I18 I31 O40
    Date: 2020–08
  30. By: Hasanzadeh, Samira; Alishahi, Modjgan
    Abstract: This paper examines the impact of stay-at-home policies on people’s health behaviours towards weight gain and probable obesity attributable to imposing the order. Using Google Trends data, we investigate whether the lockdowns that were implemented in the U.S. led to changes in weight-gain-related online search behaviours. To probe the causal link between lockdown policies and changes in weight-gain-related topics, we employ the differences-in-differences method and regression discontinuity design and we find a significant increase in the search intensity for workout and weight loss, while the search intensity for fitness, nutrition, and fast food appears to have declined. Our results from using event study regression suggest that changes in health behaviours began weeks before lockdown orders were implemented contemporaneously with emergency declarations and other partial closures about COVID-19. The findings suggest that people’s health-related behaviours regarding weight gain were affected by the lockdowns.
    Keywords: COVID-19, lockdown, health behaviours, weight gain, Obesity
    JEL: I10 I12
    Date: 2020–08–31
  31. By: Depalo, Domenico
    Abstract: In this paper I use administrative data to estimate the number of deaths, the number of infections, and mortality rates from Covid-19 in Lombardia, the hot spot of the disease in Italy and Europe. The information is relevant for the policy maker, to make decisions, and for the public, to adopt appropriate behaviours. As the available data suffer from sample selection bias I use partial identification to derive these quantities. Partial identification combines as- sumptions with the data to deliver a set of admissible values, or bounds. Stronger assumptions yield stronger conclusions, but decrease the credibility of the inference. Therefore, I start with assumptions that are always satisfied, then I impose increasingly more restrictive assumptions. Using my preferred bounds, during March 2020 in Lombardia there were between 10,000 and 18,500 more deaths than before 2020. The narrowest bounds of mortality rates from Covid-19 are between 0.1% and 7.5%, much smaller than the 17.5% discussed for long time. This finding suggests that the case of Lombardia may not be as special as some argue.
    Keywords: Covid-19,Mortality,Bounds
    JEL: I18 C24 C81
    Date: 2020
  32. By: Tani, Massimiliano (University of New South Wales); Cheng, Zhiming (University of New South Wales); Mendolia, Silvia (University of Wollongong); Paloyo, Alfredo R. (University of Wollongong); Savage, David (University of Newcastle, Australia)
    Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic and the policy measures to control its spread – lockdowns, physical distancing, and social isolation – has coincided with the deterioration of people's mental well-being. We use data from the UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS) to document how this phenomenon is related to the situation of working parents who now have to manage competing time demands across the two life domains of work and home. We show that the worsening of mental health in the United Kingdom is worse for working parents, and that it is especially related to the increased financial insecurity and the time spent on childcare and home schooling. We find that this burden is not shared equally between men and women, and between richer and poorer households. In crafting public policy responses to the pandemic, better outcomes can be achieved if policymakers are cognizant of these inequalities.
    Keywords: COVID-19, working parents, United Kingdom, childcare, mental health, financial insecurity
    JEL: I14 J16
    Date: 2020–08
  33. By: Coker, Eric; Cavalli, Laura; Fabrizi, Enrico; Guastella, Gianni; Lippo, Enrico; Parisi, Maria Laura; Pontarollo, Nicola; Rizzati, Massimiliano; Varacca, Alessandro; Vergalli, Sergio
    Abstract: Long-term exposure to ambient air pollutant concentrations is known to cause chronic lung inflammation, a condition that may promote increased severity of COVID-19 syndrome caused by the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). In this paper, we empirically investigate the ecologic association between long-term concentrations of area-level fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and excess deaths in the first quarter of 2020 in municipalities of Northern Italy. The study accounts for potentially spatial confounding factors related to urbanization that may have influenced the spreading of SARS-CoV-2 and related COVID-19 mortality. Our epidemiological analysis uses geographical information (e.g., municipalities) and negative binomial regression to assess whether both ambient PM2.5 concentration and excess mortality have a similar spatial distribution. Our analysis suggests a positive association of ambient PM2.5 concentration on excess mortality in Northern Italy related to the COVID-19 epidemic. Our estimates suggest that a one-unit increase in PM2.5 concentration (μg/m3) is associated with a 9% (95% confidence interval: 6% - 12%) increase in COVID-19 related mortality.
    Keywords: Health Economics and Policy
    Date: 2020–09–15
  34. By: Kniesner, Thomas J. (Claremont Graduate University); Sullivan, Ryan (Naval Postgraduate School)
    Abstract: Our research estimates Covid-19 non-fatal economic losses in the U.S. using detailed data on cumulative cases and hospitalizations from January 22, 2020 to July 27, 2020, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As of July 27, 2020, the cumulative confirmed number of cases was about 4.2 million with almost 300,000 of them entailing hospitalizations. Due to data collection limitations the confirmed totals reported by the CDC under-count the actual number of cases and hospitalizations in the U.S. Using standard assumptions provided by the CDC, we estimate that as of July 27, 2020, the actual number of cumulative Covid-19 cases in the U.S. is about 47 million with almost 1 million involving hospitalizations. Applying value per statistical life (VSL) and relative severity/injury estimates from the Department of Transportation (DOT), we estimate an overall non-fatal unadjusted valuation of $2.2 trillion for the U.S. with a weighted average value of about $46,000 per case. This is almost 40% higher than the total valuation of $1.6 trillion (using about $11 million VSL from the DOT) for all approximately 147,000 Covid-19 fatalities. We also show a variety of estimates that adjust the non-fatal valuations by the dreaded and uncertainty aspect of Covid-19, age, income, and a factor related to fatality categorization. The adjustments show current overall non-fatal valuations ranging from about $1.5 trillion to about $9.6 trillion. Finally, we use CDC forecast data to estimate non-fatal valuations through November 2020, and find that the overall cumulative valuation increases from about $2.2 trillion to about $5.7 trillion or to about 30 percent of GDP. Because of the larger numbers of cases involved our calculations imply that non-fatal infections are as economically serious in the aggregate as ultimately fatal infections.
    Keywords: value of a statistical injury, VSI, value of a statistical life, VSL, COVID-19, pandemic, willingness to pay, benefit-cost analysis, CDC
    JEL: I18 J17 J28 H51
    Date: 2020–08
  35. By: Brilli, Ylenia (University of Verona); Lucifora, Claudio (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore); Russo, Alessia (Norwegian Business School (BI)); Tonello, Marco (Catholic University Milan)
    Abstract: We study the role of media reporting of alleged adverse effects of influenza vaccination on adults' (aged 50 or more) decisions to vaccinate against the flu. We exploit the diffusion of news linking suspected deaths to the vaccine, during the 2014 vaccination campaign in Italy. Using daily variation in news items across the 2014 campaign and the previous year campaign, unaffected by media cases, we show that media reporting decreases flu vaccination by about 2.5% (78 fewer vaccinations per day). The effect, however, is short-lived, as it fades away after approximately 10 days from the news outbreak.
    Keywords: influenza, vaccination, mass media
    JEL: I12 I18 J10
    Date: 2020–08
  36. By: Motta, Matthew; Sylvester, Steven; Callaghan, Timothy; Trujillo, Kristin Lunz
    Abstract: Context: Overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic will require millions of Americans to vaccinate against the virus. Unfortunately, previous research suggests that many Americans plan to refuse a vaccine; thereby jeopardizing collective immunity. We investigate the effectiveness of three different health communication frames hypothesized to increase vaccine intention; emphasizing either (1) personal health risks, (2) economic costs, or (3) collective public health consequences of not vaccinating. Methods: In a large (N = 7,064) and demographically representative survey experiment, we randomly assigned respondents to read pro-vaccine communication materials featuring one of the frames listed above. We also randomly varied the message source (ordinary people vs. medical experts) and availability of information designed the “pre-bunk” concerns about expedited clinical trial safety. Findings: We find that messages emphasizing the personal health risks and collective health consequences of not vaccinating significantly increase Americans’ intentions to vaccinate. These effects are similar in magnitude irrespective of message source, and the inclusion of pre-bunking information. Surprisingly, economic cost frames have no discernible effect on vaccine intention. Conclusions: Health communicators hoping to encourage vaccination may be effective by appealing to the use personal and collective health risks of not vaccinating.
    Date: 2020–09–08
  37. By: Simplice A. Asongu (Yaounde, Cameroon); Usman M. Usman (Kula Lumpur, 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
  38. By: Leonardo Bursztyn (University of Chicago and NBER); Aakaash Rao (Harvard University); Christopher Roth (University of Warwick, CAGE Warwick, CESifo, CEPR, briq); David Yanagizawa-Drott (University of Zurich and CEPR)
    Abstract: We study the effects of news coverage of COVID-19 by the two most widely-viewed cable news shows in the United States ÑHannity and Tucker Carlson Tonight, both on Fox News Ñ on viewersÕ behavior and downstream health outcomes. Carlson warned viewers about the threat posed by COVID-19 from early February, while Hannity originally dismissed the associated risks before gradually adjusting his position starting late February. We first validate these differences in content with independent coding of show transcripts and present new survey evidence that HannityÕs viewers changed behavior in response to COVID-19 later than other Fox News viewers, while CarlsonÕs viewers changed behavior earlier. We then document a robust association between viewership of Hannity relative to Tucker Carlson Tonight and COVID-19 cases and deaths, both through a selection-on-observables strategy and through a novel instrumental variable approach exploiting variation in when shows are broadcast relative to local Òprime-timeÓ viewing hours. We assess effect sizes through a simple epidemiological model and provide additional evidence that misinformation is an important mechanism driving the observed effects.
    Keywords: Media, Health, Coronavirus
    JEL: D1 I31 Z13
    Date: 2020
  39. By: Angelucci, Manuela (University of Texas at Austin); Angrisani, Marco (University of Southern California); Bennett, Daniel (University of Southern California); Kapteyn, Arie (University of Southern California); Schaner, Simone G. (Dartmouth College)
    Abstract: This paper examines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on employment and respiratory health for remote workers (i.e. those who can work from home) and non-remote workers in the United States. Using a large, nationally-representative, high-frequency panel dataset from March through July of 2020, we show that job losses were up to three times as large for non-remote workers. This gap is larger than the differential job losses for women, African Americans, Hispanics, or workers without college degrees. Non-remote workers also experienced relatively worse respiratory health, which likely occurred because it was more difficult for non-remote workers to protect themselves. Grouping workers by pre-pandemic household income shows that job losses and, to a lesser extent, health losses were highest among non-remote workers from low-income households, exacerbating existing disparities. Finally, we show that lifting non-essential business closures did not substantially increase employment.
    Keywords: COVID-19, employment, working from home
    JEL: J2 J6
    Date: 2020–08
  40. By: Ricardo Lagos
    Abstract: I generalize the "noisy search" model of Burdett and Judd (1983) to settings where individual buyers have preferences over the number of other buyers who visit the same seller as them. I consider a version in which buyers have a preference for social distancing derived from the risk of contracting a disease from other buyers, and use it to study the two-way equilibrium interaction between supply-side considerations (such as the distribution of prices posted by sellers) and individual buyers' behavioral responses to the risk of contagion. I find that the price response to the buyers' shift toward social distancing can be an important determinant of the degree to which buyers' individual behavioral responses to the risk of contagion can mitigate the spread of the disease.
    JEL: D43 I12
    Date: 2020–08
  41. By: LU, Yi; Zhao, Jianting; Wu, Xueying; Lo, Siu Ming
    Abstract: Cities implemented social distancing measures to cope with COVID-19, which kept people away from nature. A steep drop in the greenspace use was observed in western cities. Surprisingly, news revealed a surging greenspace use in Asian cities. In this study, we used COVID-19 outbreak stages as natural experiments to investigate individual behavioural changes of greenspace use before and during the pandemic. Our case cities are Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo and Seoul. We extracted panel data which consisted of longitudinal posts of 100, 232 users, being posted in 1,185 greenspaces in the four Asian cities. Our statistical models found a 5.3% increase in the odds of people using greenspaces for every 100 additional weekly new cases. The analyses also revealed people’s preference in larger, nature parks that are close to city centres. Due to the established physical and mental health benefits of greenspaces, people have been escaping to nature to cope with the pandemic in Asian cities.
    Date: 2020–09–03
  42. By: Adam Brzezinski (University of Oxford); Valentin Kecht (Bocconi University); David Van Dijcke (University of Oxford); Austin L. Wright (University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy)
    Abstract: Physical distancing reduces transmission risks and slows the spread of COVID-19. Local and regional governments in the United States have issued shelter-in-place policies to mandate physical distancing. Yet compliance with these policies is uneven and may be influenced by beliefs about science and topics of scientific consensus. We theorize that individuals skeptical about the human causes of climate change are less likely to comply with physical distancing orders. Using county-day measures of physical distancing derived from cellphone location data, we demonstrate that the proportion of people who stay at home after lockdown policies go into effect is significantly lower in counties with a high concentration of climate change skeptics. These results are consistent when we study how belief in science influences physical distancing across as well as within Democratic and Republican counties. Our findings suggest public health interventions and messaging about risks associated with COVID-19 that take into account local attitudes towards science may be more effective.
    Keywords: COVID-19, physical distancing, belief in science, political partisanship
    JEL: I12 I18 H12 H75 D04
    Date: 2020
  43. By: Raut, Nirmal Kumar
    Abstract: This paper undertakes a descriptive review of the macroeconomic and microeconomic impact of COVID-19 and of the consequent lockdown imposed by the government in Nepal. The review shows that almost all macroeconomic indicators have either slowed down or become negative suggesting adverse effect of COVID-19 on Nepalese economy. Likewise, at micro level, the review shows that it has severely affected the household economy as well as the business firms. The effects are identified on health, education, food security and employment. At the firm level, the cost and unemployment have increased while the productivity, profit and income have decreased. This therefore calls for the concerted efforts on the part of all the stakeholders, more importantly the State to adopt a policy-mix that can adequately manage the health crisis on the one hand and the livelihood on the other, keeping in mind their long term effects on accumulation of financial, physical and human capital.
    Keywords: COVID-19, Economic Impact, Nepal
    JEL: D12 E2 E24 E52
    Date: 2020–07
  44. By: Samuel Bazzi; Martin Fiszbein; Mesay Gebresilasse
    Abstract: Rugged individualism—the combination of individualism and anti-statism—is a prominent feature of American culture with deep roots in the country’s history of frontier settlement. Today, rugged individualism is more prevalent in counties with greater total frontier experience (TFE) during the era of westward expansion. While individualism may be conducive to innovation, it can also undermine collective action, with potentially adverse social consequences. We show that America’s frontier culture hampered the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Across U.S. counties, greater TFE is associated with less social distancing and mask use as well as weaker local government effort to control the virus. We argue that frontier culture lies at the root of several more proximate explanations for the weak collective response to public health risks, including a lack of civic duty, partisanship, and distrust in science.
    JEL: H12 H23 H75 I12 I18 P16
    Date: 2020–09
  45. By: Brotherhood, Luiz; Jerbashian, Vahagn
    Abstract: We derive a model in which firms operate in an epidemic environment and internalize infections among their employees in the workplace. The model is calibrated to fit the properties of the Covid-19 epidemic. We show that firms have incentives to fight against infections and can do so very effectively by increasing teleworking and rotating employees between on-site work, teleworking, and leave. Subsidies to sick leave reduce the cost of sick workers and raise workplace infections. Furlough policies are successful in reducing infections and saving lives. Firms delay and weaken the fight against infections during economic downturns.
    Keywords: Covid-19,epidemic,firm behavior,on-site work,policies,teleworking
    JEL: C63 D20 D21 I10 I18 L23
    Date: 2020
  46. By: J. James Reade (Department of Economics, University of Reading); Dominik Schreyer (Wissenschaftliche Hochschule für Unternehmensführung (WHU)); Carl Singleton (Department of Economics, University of Reading)
    Abstract: In this note, we consider early evidence regarding behavioural responses to an emerging public health emergency. We explore patterns in stadium attendance demand by exploiting match-level data from the Belarusian Premier League (BPL), a football competition that kept playing unrestricted in front of spectators throughout the global COVID-19 pandemic, unlike all other European professional sports leagues. We observe that stadium attendance demand in Belarus declined significantly in the initial period of maximum uncertainty. Surprisingly, demand then slowly recovered, despite the ongoing inherent risk to individuals from going to a match.
    Keywords: Attendance, COVID-19, Football/soccer, Spectator decision-making, public health
    JEL: D12 D81 D90 H12 I18 L83 Z20
    Date: 2020–07–14
  47. By: Jeffrey D Sachs; Salim Abdool Karim; Lara Aknin; Joseph Allen; Kirsten Brosbol; Gabriela Cuevas Barron; Peter Daszak; María Fernanda Espinosa; Vitor Gaspar; Alejandro Gaviria; Andy Haines; Peter Hotez; Phoebe Koundouri; Jong-Koo Lee; Muhammad Pate; Paul Polman; Srinath Reddy; Ismail Serageldin; Raj Shah; John Thwaites; Vaira Vike-Freiberga; Chen Wang; Miriam Khamadi Were; Felipe Larrain Bascunan; Lan Xue; Min Zhu; Chandrika Bahadur; Maria Elena Bottazzi; Yanis Ben Amor; Lauren Barredo; Ozge Karadag Caman; Guillaume Lafortune; Emma Torres; Ismini Ethridge; Juliana G E Bartels
    Abstract: The Lancet COVID-19 Commission was launched on July 9, 2020, to assist governments, civil society, and UN institutions in responding effectively to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Commission aims to offer practical solutions to the four main global challenges posed by the pandemic: suppressing the pandemic by means of pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical interventions; overcoming humanitarian emergencies, including poverty, hunger, and mental distress, caused by the pandemic; restructuring public and private finances in the wake of the pandemic; and rebuilding the world economy in an inclusive, resilient, and sustainable way that is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement. Many creative solutions are already being implemented, and a key aim of the Commission is to accelerate their adoption worldwide.
    Date: 2020–09–17

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