nep-hea New Economics Papers
on Health Economics
Issue of 2020‒10‒05
forty-nine papers chosen by
Nicolas R. Ziebarth
Cornell University

  1. Crimes Against Morality: Unintended Consequences of Criminalizing Sex Work By Lisa Cameron; Jennifer Seager; Manisha Shah
  2. Out of the Woodwork: Enrollment Spillovers in the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment By Adam Sacarny; Katherine Baicker; Amy Finkelstein
  3. Peers, Gender, and Long-Term Depression By Giulietti, Corrado; Vlassopoulos, Michael; Zenou, Yves
  4. Unemployment Disrupts Sleep By David G. Blanchflower; Alex Bryson
  5. Industrial Robots, Workers' Safety, and Health By Gihleb, Rania; Giuntella, Osea; Stella, Luca; Wang, Tianyi
  6. The Intergenerational Effects of the Vietnam Draft on Risky Behaviors By Monica Deza; Alvaro Mezza
  7. Is There a Link between BMI and Adolescents' Educational Choices and Expectations? By Diaz-Serrano, Luis; Stoyanova, Alexandrina P.
  8. Association of a Genetic Risk Score with BMI along the Life-Cycle: Evidence from Several US Cohorts By Sanz-de-Galdeano, Anna; Terskaya, Anastasia; Upegui, Angie
  9. Higher Order Risk Preferences: New Experimental Measures, Determinants and Field Behavior By Sebastian O. Schneider; Matthias Sutter
  10. Prudence and prevention: Empirical evidence By Mayrhofer, Thomas; Schmitz, Hendrik
  11. Physician altruism and moral hazard: (no) evidence from Finnish national prescriptions data By Crea, Giovanni; Galizzi, Matteo M.; Linnosmaa, Ismo; Miraldo, Marisa
  12. Promotion of Health Tourism in which Hot Springs are Utilized for Medical Treatment and Accumulation and Dissemination of Empirical Evidence (Japanese) By SEKIGUCHI Yoichi
  13. Immigration, Working Conditions, and Compensating Differentials By Sparber, Chad; Zavodny, Madeline
  14. It’s Raining Babies? Flooding and Fertility Choices in Bangladesh By Thiede, Brian C.; Chen, Joyce; Mueller, Valerie; Jia, Yuanyuan; Hultquist, Carolynne
  15. A Path Analysis Examining the Relationship Between Access Barriers to Health Services and Healthcare Utilization Among the Publicly Insured: Insights from a Multiprovince Survey in the Philippines By Alipio, Mark
  16. Latent Causal Socioeconomic Health Index By F. Swen Kuh; Grace S. Chiu; Anton H. Westveld
  17. The Relationship between Subjective Wellbeing and Subjective Wellbeing Inequality: Taking Ordinality and Skewness Seriously By Grimes, Arthur; Jenkins, Stephen P.; Tranquilli, Florencia
  18. Maternal cash for better child health? The impacts of India’s IGMSY/PMMVY maternity benefit scheme By von Haaren, Paula; Klonner, Stefan
  19. On the Quantity and Quality of Girls : Fertility, Parental Investments, and Mortality By Lnu,Anukriti; Bhalotra,Sonia R.; Tam,Hiu
  20. Political Instability and Birth Outcomes: Evidence from the 1981 Military Coup in Spain By Aparicio Fenoll, Ainoa; Gonzalez, Libertad
  21. The Weight of Patriarchy? Gender Obesity Gaps in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) By Costa-Font, Joan; Gyori, Mario
  22. Informational Shocks and Street-Food Safety: A Field Study in Urban India By Daniele, Gianmarco; Mookerjee, Sulagna; Tommasi, Denni
  23. COVID-19 Infections and Fatalities Developments: Empirical Evidence for OECD Countries and Newly Industrialized Economies By Lucas Bretschger; Elise Grieg; Paul J.J. Welfens; Tian Xiong
  24. Is the Cure Worse than the Disease? County-Level Evidence from the COVID-19 Pandemic in the United States By Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina; Kaushal, Neeraj; Muchow, Ashley N.
  25. The Distribution of COVID-19 Related Risks By Patrick Baylis; Pierre-Loup Beauregard; Marie Connolly; Nicole Fortin; David A. Green; Pablo Gutiérrez-Cubillos; Samuel Gyetvay; Catherine Haeck; Tímea L. Molnár; Gäelle Simard-Duplain; Henry Siu; Maria teNyenhuis; Casey Warman
  26. Are COVID Fatalities in the US Higher Than in the EU, and If So, Why? By Aparicio Fenoll, Ainoa; Grossbard, Shoshana
  27. An SEIR Infectious Disease Model with Testing and Conditional Quarantine By David Berger; Kyle Herkenhoff; Simon Mongey
  28. Corona Fatality Development, Health Indicators and the Environment: Empirical Evidence for OECD Countries By Lucas Bretschger; Elise Grieg; Paul J.J. Welfens; Tian Xiong
  29. The COVID-19 pandemic in an aging world By Reher, David S.; Requena, Miguel; de Santis, Gustavo; Esteve, Albert; Bacci, Massimo Livi; Padyab, Mojgan; Sandström, Glenn
  30. Addressing Public Health Emergencies via Facebook Surveys: Advantages, Challenges, and Practical Considerations By Grow, André; Perrotta, Daniela; Del Fava, Emanuele; Cimentada, Jorge; Rampazzo, Francesco; Gil-Clavel, Sofia; Zagheni, Emilio
  31. COVID-19 with stigma: Theory and evidence from mobility data By Katafuchi, Yuya; Kurita, Kenichi; Managi, Shunsuke
  32. Undergraduate Student Caregivers’ Experiences during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Financial Hardships, Food and Housing Insecurity, Mental Health, and Academic Obstacles By Soria, Krista M; McAndrew, Molly; Horgos, Bonnie; Chirikov, Igor; Jones-White, Daniel
  33. Is the Rise in Illicit Opioids Affecting Labor Supply and Disability Claiming Rates? By Sujeong Park; David Powell
  34. Estimation of COVID-19 Prevalence from Serology Tests: A Partial Identification Approach By Panos Toulis
  35. The Dutch Labour Market Early on in the COVID-19 Outbreak: Regional Coronavirus Hotspots and the National Lockdown By Hassink, Wolter; Kalb, Guyonne; Meekes, Jordy
  36. The Contagion Externality of a Superspreading Event: The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and COVID-19 By Dave, Dhaval M.; Friedson, Andrew I.; McNichols, Drew; Sabia, Joseph J.
  37. The Persuasive Effect of Fox News: Non-Compliance with Social Distancing During the COVID-19 Pandemic By Andrey Simonov; Szymon Sacher; Jean-Pierre Dube; Shirsho Biswas
  38. Are Happier People More Compliant? Global Evidence From Three Large-Scale Surveys During Covid-19 Lockdowns By Krekel, Christian; Swanke, Sarah; De Neve, Jan-Emmanuel; Fancourt, Daisy
  39. Job Loss and Behavioral Change: The Unprecedented Effects of the India Lockdown in Delhi By Kenneth Lee; Harshil Sahai; Patrick Baylis; Michael Greenstone
  40. School disruption and pupil academic outcomes – evidence from the 2001 foot and mouth disease epidemic in England By Cook, Will
  41. US Unemployment Insurance Replacement Rates During the Pandemic By Peter Ganong; Pascal Noel; Joseph Vavra
  42. When did coronavirus arrive in Europe? By Cerqua, Augusto; Di Stefano, Roberta
  43. A Simple Planning Problem for COVID-19 Lockdown By Fernando Alvarez; David Argente
  44. Poverty and Economic Dislocation Reduce Compliance with COVID-19 Shelter-in-Place Protocols By Austin L. Wright; Konstantin Sonin; Jesse Driscoll; Jarnickae Wilson
  45. Policy expansion in compressed time: Assessing the speed, breadth and sufficiency of post-COVID-19 social protection measures in 10 Latin American countries By Blofield, Merike; Giambruno, Cecilia; Filgueira, Fernando
  46. Productivity of Working from Home during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Evidence from an Employee Survey By MORIKAWA Masayuki
  47. Which Workers Bear the Burden of Social Distancing Policies? By Simon Mongey; Laura Pilossoph; Alex Weinberg
  48. Controlling Epidemic Spread: Reducing Economic Losses with Targeted Closures By John Manuel Barrios; Ozan Candogan; Yiding Feng
  49. Disease, Downturns, and Wellbeing: Economic History and the Long-Run Impacts of COVID-19 By Vellore Arthi; John Parman

  1. By: Lisa Cameron; Jennifer Seager; Manisha Shah
    Abstract: We examine the impact of criminalizing sex work, exploiting an event in which local officials unexpectedly criminalized sex work in one district in East Java, Indonesia, but not in neighboring districts. We collect data from female sex workers and their clients before and after the change. We find that criminalization increases sexually transmitted infections among female sex workers by 58 percent, measured by biological tests. This is driven by decreased condom access and use. We also find evidence that criminalization decreases earnings among women who left sex work due to criminalization, and decreases their ability to meet their children's school expenses while increasing the likelihood that children begin working to supplement household income. While criminalization has the potential to improve population STI outcomes if the market shrinks permanently, we show that five years post-criminalization the market has rebounded and the probability of STI transmission within the general population is likely to have increased.
    JEL: I18 J16 K42
    Date: 2020–09
  2. By: Adam Sacarny (Columbia University and NBER); Katherine Baicker (Harris School of Public Policy, University of Chicago); Amy Finkelstein (Department of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
    Abstract: We analyze the impact of expanded adult Medicaid eligibility on the Medicaid enrollment of already-eligible children. To do so, we exploit the 2008 Oregon Medicaid lottery, in which some low-income uninsured adults were randomly selected for the chance to apply for Medicaid. Children in these households were eligible for Medicaid irrespective of whether the household won the lottery. We estimate statistically significant but transitory impacts of adult lottery selection on childrenÕs Medicaid enrollment: for every9 adults who enroll in Medicaid due to the lottery, one additional child also enrolls at the same time. Our results shed light on the existence, magnitude, and nature of so-called Òwoodwork effectsÓ.
    JEL: H53 I13 I38
    Date: 2020
  3. By: Giulietti, Corrado (University of Southampton); Vlassopoulos, Michael (University of Southampton); Zenou, Yves (Monash University)
    Abstract: This study investigates whether exposure to peer depression in adolescence affects own depression in adulthood. We find a significant long-term depression peer effect for females but not for males in a sample of U.S. adolescents who are followed into adulthood. An increase of one standard deviation of the share of own-gender peers (schoolmates) who are depressed increases the probability of depression in adulthood by 2.6 percentage points for females (or 11.5% of mean depression). We also find that the peer effect is already present in the short term when girls are still in school and provide suggestive evidence for why it persists over time. In particular, we show that peer depression negatively affects the probability of college attendance and the likelihood of working, and leads to a reduction in income of adult females. Further analysis reveals that individuals from families with a lower socioeconomic background are more susceptible to peer influence, thereby suggesting that family can function as a buffer.
    Keywords: peer effects, depression, contagion, gender, family background, adolescence, policy
    JEL: I12 Z13
    Date: 2020–09
  4. By: David G. Blanchflower; Alex Bryson
    Abstract: Although there is a substantial literature indicating that unemployment and joblessness have profound adverse impacts on individuals’ health and wellbeing, there is relatively little evidence of their impact on sleep. Using data for over 3.5 million individuals in the United States over the period 2006-2019 from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey series we show sleep disruption patterns that vary by labor market status. We look at sleep measured by hours in a day and days in a month and whether sleep is disturbed over a fortnight, as indicated by problems falling or staying asleep or staying asleep too much. We find the short-term unemployed suffer more short and long sleep than the employed and are more likely to suffer from disturbed sleep. These problems are greater still for the long-term unemployed and for the jobless who say they are unable to work.
    JEL: I31 J64
    Date: 2020–09
  5. By: Gihleb, Rania (University of Pittsburgh); Giuntella, Osea (University of Pittsburgh); Stella, Luca (Catholic University Milan); Wang, Tianyi (University of Copenhagen)
    Abstract: This study explores the relationship between the adoption of industrial robots and workplace injuries using data from the United States (US) and Germany. Our empirical analyses, based on establishment-level data for the US, suggest that a one standard deviation increase in robot exposure reduces work-related injuries by approximately 16%. These results are driven by manufacturing firms (-28%), while we detect no impact on sectors that were less exposed to industrial robots. We also show that the US counties that are more exposed to robot penetration experience a significant increase in drug- or alcohol-related deaths and mental health problems, consistent with the extant evidence of negative effects on labor market outcomes in the US. Employing individual longitudinal data from Germany, we exploit within-individual changes in robot exposure and document similar effects on job physical intensity (-4%) and disability (-5%), but no evidence of significant effects on mental health and work and life satisfaction, consistent with the lack of significant impacts of robot penetration on labor market outcomes in Germany.
    Keywords: work-related health risks, robot-exposure
    JEL: I10 J0
    Date: 2020–09
  6. By: Monica Deza; Alvaro Mezza
    Abstract: We exploit the natural experiment provided by the Vietnam lottery draft to evaluate the intergenerational effect of fathers’ draft eligibility on children’s propensity to engage in risky health behaviors during adolescence using the NLSY97. Draft eligibility increases measures of substance use, intensity of use, decreases age of initiation—particularly for marijuana—and increases measures of delinquency. We explore potential mechanisms: Draft eligibility affects paternal parenting styles and attitudes towards the respondent, environmental aspects, and even maternal factors. Results are robust to alternative specifications and falsification diagnostics. Our results indicate that previous analyses underestimate the full negative effects of draft eligibility.
    JEL: I1 J13
    Date: 2020–09
  7. By: Diaz-Serrano, Luis (Universitat Rovira i Virgili); Stoyanova, Alexandrina P. (University of Barcelona)
    Abstract: One of the most claimed links in the health and education literature is that education prevents from the risk of overweight, and the negative link between education and BMI is up to now out of questioning. More educated adults tend to have lower body mass index (BMI) and a lower risk of overweight and obesity. However, recent literature started questioning the mechanism behind this education gradient in BMI. A more recent and alternative explanation is that the BMI-education gradient hides a selection mechanism, which makes adolescents with higher BMI are less likely to plan for, attend, and complete higher levels of education. In this paper we test for the selection mechanism behind the link between education and BMI by estimating the impact of adolescents' BMI on medium-long-term educational expectations and short-term school choices, while controlling for the potential endogeneity of BMI. Our IV estimates indicate that individuals with higher BMI have lower academic aspirations and are less likely to attend high school after finishing compulsory education, which is a pre-condition of the intentions to go college. These results support the selection (reverse causality) mechanism.
    Keywords: students' expectations, BMI, overweight, school choices, university, educational achievement
    JEL: I24 I29
    Date: 2020–09
  8. By: Sanz-de-Galdeano, Anna (Universidad de Alicante); Terskaya, Anastasia (University of Navarra); Upegui, Angie (Universidad de Alicante)
    Abstract: We use data from the The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health and from the Health and Retirement Study to explore how the the effect of individuals' genetic predisposition to higher BMI —measured by BMI polygenic scores— changes over the life-cycle for several cohorts. We find that the effect of BMI polygenic scores on BMI increases significantly as teenagers transition into adulthood (using the Add Health cohort, born 1974-83). However, this is not the case for individuals aged 55+ who were born in earlier HRS cohorts (1931-53), whose life-cycle pattern of genetic influence on BMI is remarkably stable as they move into old-age.
    Keywords: obesity, BMI polygenic scores, Add Health, Health and Retirement Study
    JEL: I1 I14
    Date: 2020–09
  9. By: Sebastian O. Schneider; Matthias Sutter
    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 clarifies 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
  10. By: Mayrhofer, Thomas; Schmitz, Hendrik
    Abstract: Theoretical papers show that optimal prevention decisions in the sense of selfprotection (i.e., primary prevention) depend not only on the level of (second-order) risk aversion but also on higher-order risk preferences such as prudence (third-order risk aversion). We study empirically whether these theoretical results hold and whether prudent individuals show less preventive (self-protection) effort than non-prudent individuals. We use a unique dataset that combines data on higher-order risk preferences and various measures of observed real-world prevention behavior. We find that prudent individuals indeed invest less in self-protection as measured by influenza vaccination. This result is driven by high risk individuals such as individuals >60 years of age or chronically ill. We do not find a clear empirical relationship between riskpreferences and prevention in the sense of self-insurance (i.e. secondary prevention). Neither risk aversion nor prudence is related to cancer screenings such as mammograms, Pap smears or X-rays of the lung.
    Keywords: prudence,risk preferences,prevention,vaccination,screening
    JEL: D12 D81 I12
    Date: 2020
  11. By: Crea, Giovanni; Galizzi, Matteo M.; Linnosmaa, Ismo; Miraldo, Marisa
    Abstract: We test the physicians’ altruism and moral hazard hypotheses using a national panel register containing all 2003-2010 statins prescriptions in Finland. We estimate the likelihood that physicians prescribe generic versus branded versions of statins as a function of the shares of the difference between what patients have to pay out of their pocket and what is covered by the insurance, controlling for patient, physician, and drug characteristics. We find that the estimated coefficients and the average marginal effects associated with moral hazard and altruism are nearly zero, and are orders of magnitude smaller than the ones associated with other explanatory factors such as the prescriptions’ year and the physician specialization. When the analysis distinctly accounts for both the patient and the insurer shares of expenditure, the estimated coefficients directly reject the altruism and moral hazard hypotheses. Instead, we find strong and robust evidence of habits persistence in prescribing branded drugs.
    Keywords: pharmaceuticals; moral hazard; physician altruism; habits persistence
    JEL: D64 I11
    Date: 2019–05–01
  12. By: SEKIGUCHI Yoichi
    Abstract: This paper considers measures for accumulating and disseminating evidence to support doctors recommending hot spring treatment to their patients, which could benefit the revitalization efforts of regional economies through the promotion of health tourism to regional hot springs. While medical insurance covers the cost of hot spring treatments in Germany and France have evidence-based supporting the utilization of hot springs for medical treatment, it is difficult to accumulate and disseminate such evidence in Japan due to national university reforms, etc.. Toyotomi Hot Springs (Toyotomi Town, Hokkaido Prefecture), where the water is known to have beneficial dermatological effects, has welcomed the highest number of medical expense deduction applicants based on doctor recommendations, after being certified as a health promotion facility. It is desirable to strengthen the system for accumulating and disseminating such evidence. Roles of an organization allocating research funds effectively and spreading research results are important. The French system may serve as a reference as a single national organization provides funding for research projects and disseminates information.
    Date: 2020–09
  13. By: Sparber, Chad (Colgate University); Zavodny, Madeline (University of North Florida)
    Abstract: The large inflow of less-educated immigrants that the United States has received in recent decades can worsen or improve U.S. natives' labor market opportunities. Although there is a general consensus that low-skilled immigrants tend to hold "worse" jobs than U.S. natives, the impact of immigration on U.S. natives' working conditions has received little attention. This study examines how immigration affected U.S. natives' occupational exposure to workplace hazards and the return to such exposure over 1990 to 2018. The results indicate that immigration causes less-educated U.S. natives' exposure to workplace hazards to fall, and instrumental variables results show a larger impact among women than among men. The compensating differential paid for hazard exposure appears to fall as well, but not after accounting for immigration-induced changes in the returns to occupational skills.
    Keywords: immigration, hazardous jobs, compensating differentials, risk premium
    JEL: J81 J31 F22
    Date: 2020–09
  14. By: Thiede, Brian C. (The Pennsylvania State University); Chen, Joyce; Mueller, Valerie; Jia, Yuanyuan; Hultquist, Carolynne
    Abstract: A growing demographic literature has examined the impacts of climatic variability on human populations. Most of this work has focused on migration, morbidity, and mortality. Much less attention has been given to the effects of climate change on fertility, which represents an important gap given many plausible reasons to expect such effects. We address this issue by examining the relationship between exposure to flooding and fertility in Bangladesh. We link birth records (n=355,532 person-years) from the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) with satellite-derived measures of flooding from 2002 through 2014 and estimate statistical models of the relationship between flood exposure and subsequent fertility outcomes. We also conduct secondary analyses of the relationship between flood exposure and four expected causal pathways: women’s marriage, contraceptive use, employment, and health. Results suggest that flood exposure reduces the probability of childbearing, and that this effect operates with a two-year lag. Negative effects are concentrated among women with a primary school education or higher and low-parity women. In contrast, women at high parities (e.g., at or above four) tend to increase their fertility in response to flooding. We find little evidence that observed flooding effects operate through the causal pathways we test, raising questions for future research about the mechanisms that explain our findings.
    Date: 2020–04–12
  15. By: Alipio, Mark
    Abstract: Although the National Health Insurance Act (NHIA) of 2013 has been widely successful in expanding coverage, insurance alone may not translate into access to quality healthcare for everyone. Even among the insured, substantial barriers to accessing services inhibit health care utilization. This study was focused on examining the influence of selected health services access barriers to the healthcare utilization among the publicly insured residents in the Philippines. A cross-sectional survey was conducted with a sample of 7,234 Filipino residents chosen using multi-stage cluster sampling. Path analysis was used to determine the connections among the study variables. Descriptive analysis revealed that the respondents always perceive approachability and ability to reach as supply-side and demand-side access barriers, respectively, among others. Correlation analysis revealed that supply-side and demand-side access barriers to care and the healthcare utilization of the respondents are positively interrelated from each other, suggesting that respondents who always perceive the mentioned factors as access barrier to care utilize low level of healthcare services for the past three months. A further path analysis was conducted and revealed that the supply-side determinant with the largest total causal effect on healthcare utilization is approachability while the demand-side determinant with the largest total causal effect is ability to reach. The findings showed better fit of the conceptual model in predicting healthcare utilization. Approximately 93% of the variance in the healthcare utilization is explained by the model. The results of the study may enable policy makers and health planners to identify the different dimensions and aspects of barriers to access to health services, and to devise specific interventions or combination of interventions that can best address these barriers.
    Date: 2020–03–01
  16. By: F. Swen Kuh; Grace S. Chiu; Anton H. Westveld
    Abstract: This research develops a model-based LAtent Causal Socioeconomic Health (LACSH) index at the national level. We build upon the latent health factor index (LHFI) approach that has been used to assess the unobservable ecological/ecosystem health. This framework integratively models the relationship between metrics, the latent health, and the covariates that drive the notion of health. In this paper, the LHFI structure is integrated with spatial modeling and statistical causal modeling, so as to evaluate the impact of a continuous policy variable (mandatory maternity leave days and government's expenditure on healthcare, respectively) on a nation's socioeconomic health, while formally accounting for spatial dependency among the nations. A novel visualization technique for evaluating covariate balance is also introduced for the case of a continuous policy (treatment) variable. We apply our LACSH model to countries around the world using data on various metrics and potential covariates pertaining to different aspects of societal health. The approach is structured in a Bayesian hierarchical framework and results are obtained by Markov chain Monte Carlo techniques.
    Date: 2020–09
  17. By: Grimes, Arthur (Motu Economic and Public Policy Research Trust); Jenkins, Stephen P. (London School of Economics); Tranquilli, Florencia (Motu Economic and Public Policy Research Trust)
    Abstract: We argue that the relationship between individual satisfaction with life (SWL) and SWL inequality is more complex than described by leading earlier research such as Goff, Helliwell, and Mayraz (Economic Inquiry, 2018). Using inequality indices appropriate for ordinal data, our analysis using the World Values Survey reveals that skewness of the SWL distribution, not only inequality, matters for individual SWL outcomes; so too does whether we look upwards or downwards at the (skewed) distribution. Our results are consistent with there being negative (positive) externalities for an individual's SWL from seeing people who are low (high) in the SWL distribution.
    Keywords: subjective wellbeing, ordinal data, inequality, skewness, WVS
    JEL: D31 D63 I31
    Date: 2020–09
  18. By: von Haaren, Paula; Klonner, Stefan
    Abstract: The maternity benefit scheme introduced as Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY) in 2011 and renamed Pradhan Mantri Matriva Sahyog Yojana (PMMVY) in 2017, which incentivizes pregnant and lactating women to participate in various infant health-promoting activities, is India’s largest conditional cash transfer program thus far. We approach IGMSY’s geographically targeted pilot phase as a natural experiment and use data from a large national health survey to estimate its effects by a matched-pair differences-in-differences approach. Consistent with the program’s objectives we find positive, albeit small effects on infant immunization as well as long-term health care utilization. In addition, intervals between eligible births increase by 15 percent. Our findings suggest that PMMVY is moderately cost-effective, at least regarding immunization, but that it will make only a small contribution to redressing India’s dismal child-health record.
    Keywords: cash incentives; demand-side financing; child health; maternal health; India
    Date: 2020–09–18
  19. By: Lnu,Anukriti; Bhalotra,Sonia R.; Tam,Hiu
    Abstract: The introduction of prenatal sex-detection technologies in India has led to a phenomenal increase in abortion of female fetuses. This paper examines the impacts of this on girl relative to boy mortality rates after birth, using data from 1973-2005. The analysis finds a narrowing of the gender gap in under-5 mortality rates, in line with surviving girls being more wanted. The estimates show that for every three aborted girls, one additional girl survives to age five. Investigation of the mechanisms finds a narrowing of gender gaps in parental investments in children, moderation of son-biased fertility stopping, and shrinking of the gap between actual and desired fertility. Heterogeneity in fertility responses suggests a shift in the distribution of girls toward lower socioeconomic status families. The findings have implications not only for counts of missing girls, but also for the later life outcomes of girls.
    Keywords: Law and Justice Institutions,Gender and Development,Health Care Services Industry,Inequality,Early Child and Children's Health,Reproductive Health,Nutrition
    Date: 2020–09–09
  20. By: Aparicio Fenoll, Ainoa; Gonzalez, Libertad (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)
    Abstract: We study the effect of exposure to political instability in-utero on health at birth. We exploit the coup d'état that took place in Spain on February 23, 1981. Although short-lived and unsuccessful, the event generated stress and fear among the population, especially in areas that had suffered more repression during the Civil War and the recent dictatorship. We follow a difference-in-differences strategy and compare birth outcomes before and after the coup, in areas that were differentially "affected". We find that children who were in utero during the coup in more affected areas were born with significantly lower birth-weight (around 9 grams lighter), especially if they were exposed to the coup in the first or second trimester of pregnancy. We contribute to the literature on the effects of maternal stress by focusing on an acute (and relatively common) source of distress that is unlikely to have affected newborn health via other channels.
    Keywords: birth outcomes, birth weight, political instability, military coup
    JEL: I12 J13
    Date: 2020–09
  21. By: Costa-Font, Joan (London School of Economics); Gyori, Mario (London School of Economics)
    Abstract: The worldwide obesity epidemic has impacted women more heavily than men. These gender-based differences are particularly pronounced in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region where gender obesity gaps on average exceed 10 percentage points. This paper examines one of the explanations, namely the role of female empowerment on gender gaps in obesity. We study the effect of several measures of female empowerment including female labour market participation on gender obesity gaps over a time span of 41 years (1975-2016) in a sample of 190 countries. We document that after controlling for a number of relevant controls, gender obesity gaps are only associated to measures of female empowerment in the MENA region but that this is not true worldwide. We then use an instrumental variable approach in order to illustrate that the causality runs indeed from empowerment, proxy it by both labour market and political participation to gender obesity gaps and not vice versa. Our results reveal that a one percentage point increase in female labor market participation (female MPs in national parliament) predicts a 0.2 (0.09) percentage point decrease in gender gaps in obesity in the MENA region.
    Keywords: female overweight, obesity, female empowerment, female labour market participation, Middle East and North Africa Region, female political participation
    JEL: I18 J16
    Date: 2020–09
  22. By: Daniele, Gianmarco (Bocconi University); Mookerjee, Sulagna (Binghamton University, New York); Tommasi, Denni (Monash University)
    Abstract: The street food market is a major source of food in developing countries, but is often characterized by unsafe food conditions. We investigate whether improvements in food safety can be achieved by providing information to vendors in the form of a training. Among randomly assigned groups of street-food vendors in Kolkata, India, we find large improvements in knowledge and awareness, but little change in their observed behavior. We provide two main explanations for these findings. First, information acquisition by itself does not make it significantly easier for vendors to provide customers with safer food options. Second, although consumers in this market have a positive willingness to pay for food that is perceived as more hygienic, they struggle to distinguish between safe and contaminated food. We conclude that information to vendors is not the key constraint in this context, and that policies mitigating supply-side constraints as well as improving food safety awareness among consumers are likely to have more impact.
    Keywords: food safety, public health, street-food, hawkers, trainings, RCT, informal sector
    JEL: O12 O17
    Date: 2020–09
  23. By: Lucas Bretschger (ETH Zurich, CER-ETH Centre for Economic Research, Department of Management, Technology, and Economics); Elise Grieg (ETH Zurich, CER-ETH Centre for Economic Research, Department of Management, Technology, and Economics); Paul J.J. Welfens (Europäisches Institut für Internationale Wirtschaftsbeziehungen (EIIW)); Tian Xiong (Europäisches Institut für Internationale Wirtschaftsbeziehungen (EIIW))
    Abstract: This paper presents empirical results on coronavirus infection and fatality rates from cross-country regressions for OECD economies and a sample of middle- and high-income countries. We include environmental, economic, medical, and policy variables in our analysis to explain the number of corona cases and deaths per million. We find a significant positive impact of local air pollution on infection rates in the whole sample and on fatality rates for OECD countries. Obesity rates have a positive effect on cases and deaths across the different estimation equations. The strategy of aiming to achieve herd immunity has a significant positive effect on infections as well as on death rates. The first affected countries have significantly higher mortality rates, revealing the lack of experience and medical capacity to deal with the pandemic in an initial phase. Postponing Ð and fighting Ð the pandemic could save lives in many countries and generate considerable economic benefits. Other medical and policy variables discussed in the public sphere do not show a significant impact in the regression analysis. Our results suggest that improving air quality and fighting obesity helps reduce the negative effects of a coronavirus pandemic significantly. Policy options for fighting a second epidemic wave should take into account the results from this study in order to optimize global epidemic policy.
    Keywords: Coronavirus Pandemic, Fatality Rates, Air Pollution, OECD Countries, Newly Industrialized Countries, Health Systems, Environmental Policy
    JEL: F63 H12 I10 I18 Q53
    Date: 2020–09
  24. By: Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina (University of California, Merced); Kaushal, Neeraj (Columbia University); Muchow, Ashley N. (University of Illinois at Chicago)
    Abstract: Using county-level data on COVID-19 mortality and infections, along with county-level information on the adoption of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) in the United States, we examine how the speed of NPI adoption affected COVID-19 mortality. Our estimates suggest that advancing the date of NPI adoption by one day lowers the COVID-19 death rate by 2.4 percent. This finding proves robust to alternative measures of NPI adoption speed, model specifications that control for testing and mobility, and across various samples: national, restricted to the Northeast region, excluding New York, and excluding the Northeast region. We also find that the adoption speed of NPIs is associated with lower infections, as well as lower non-COVID mortality, suggesting that these measures slowed contagion and the pace at which the healthcare system might have been overburdened by the pandemic. Finally, NPI adoption speed appears to have been less relevant in Republican counties, suggesting that political ideology might have compromised their efficiency.
    Keywords: COVID-19, mortality, infections, non-pharmaceutical interventions, United States
    JEL: I1 I10 I18
    Date: 2020–09
  25. By: Patrick Baylis; Pierre-Loup Beauregard; Marie Connolly; Nicole Fortin; David A. Green; Pablo Gutiérrez-Cubillos; Samuel Gyetvay; Catherine Haeck; Tímea L. Molnár; Gäelle Simard-Duplain; Henry Siu; Maria teNyenhuis; Casey Warman
    Abstract: This paper documents two COVID-related risks, viral risk and employment risk, and its distribution across the Canadian population. The measurement of viral risk is based on the VSE COVID Risk/Reward Assessment Tool, created to assist policymakers in determining the impacts of economic shutdowns and re-openings over the course of the pandemic. We document that COVID-related risks are not distributed equally. Women work in occupations with greater viral risk, even after accounting for greater female representation in health-related occupations. Employment losses since the pandemic have disproportionately impacted women, those with less education, and recent immigrants. Viral and employment risks are correlated. Employment losses have been greater in occupations that measure higher in viral risk. This interacts with and helps account for the greater em-ployment loss experienced by economically marginalized groups. Finally, we study labour market adjustments resulting in increased “employed by absent from work” status, working from home, and assortative mating in terms of viral risk.
    Keywords: COVID-19,Risks,Employment,Canada,
    Date: 2020–09–17
  26. By: Aparicio Fenoll, Ainoa; Grossbard, Shoshana (San Diego State University)
    Abstract: The COVID crisis has severely hit both the United States and the European Union. Even though they are the wealthiest regions in the world, they differ substantially in economic performance, demographic characteristics, type of government, health systems, and measures undertaken to counteract COVID. We construct comparable measures of the incidence of the COVID crisis and find that US states had more COVID-related deaths than EU countries. When taking account of demographic, economic, and political factors (but not health-policy related factors) we find that fatalities at 100 days since onset are 1.3 % higher in a US state than in an EU country. The US/EU gap disappears when we take account of health-policy related factors. Differences in number of beds per capita, number of tests, and early lockdown measures help explain the higher impact of COVID on US fatalities measured either 50 or 100 days after the epidemic started in a nation/state.
    Keywords: COVID-19, mortality, Europe, US, health policy
    JEL: I18 J1 J18
    Date: 2020–09
  27. By: David Berger (Duke University); Kyle Herkenhoff (Federal Reserve Bank of New York); Simon Mongey (University of Chicago - Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics)
    Abstract: We extend the baseline Susceptible-Exposed-Infectious-Recovered (SEIR) infectious disease epidemiology model to understand the role of testing and case-dependent quarantine. Our model nests the SEIR model. During a period of asymptomatic infection, testing can reveal infection that otherwise would only be revealed later when symptoms develop. Along with those displaying symptoms, such individuals are deemed known positive cases. Quarantine policy is case-dependent in that it can depend on whether a case is unknown, known positive, known negative, or recovered. Testing therefore makes possible the identification and quarantine of infected individuals and release of non-infected individuals. We fix a quarantine technologyÑa parameter determining the differential rate of transmission in quarantineÑand compare simple testing and quarantine policies. We start with a baseline quarantine-only policy that replicates the rate at which individuals are entering quarantine in the US in March, 2020. We show that the total deaths that occur under this policy can be achieved under looser quarantine measures and a substantial increase in random testing of asymptomatic individuals. Testing at a higher rate in conjunction with targeted quarantine policies can (i) dampen the economic impact of the coronavirus and (ii) reduce peak symptomatic infectionsÑrelevant for hospital capacity constraints. Our model can be plugged into richer quantitative extensions of the SEIR model of the kind currently being used to forecast the effects of public health and economic policies.
    Date: 2020
  28. By: Lucas Bretschger (ETH Zurich, CER-ETH Centre for Economic Research, Department of Management, Technology, and Economics); Elise Grieg (ETH Zurich, CER-ETH Centre for Economic Research, Department of Management, Technology, and Economics); Paul J.J. Welfens (Europäisches Institut für Internationale Wirtschaftsbeziehungen (EIIW)); Tian Xiong (Europäisches Institut für Internationale Wirtschaftsbeziehungen (EIIW))
    Abstract: This paper presents empirical results on coronavirus fatality rates from cross-country regressions for OECD countries. We include medical, environmental and policy variables in our analysis to explain the death rates when holding case rates constant. We find that the share of the aged population, obesity rates, and local air pollution levels have a positive effect on fatality rates across the different estimation equations, while the share of smokers is not significant in most specifications. The strategy of aiming to achieve herd immunity has a significant positive effect on death rates. Other medical and policy variables discussed in the public sphere do not show a significant impact in our regressions. An evaluation of the different policy stringencies yields mixed results. Our results suggest that improving local air quality helps reduce the negative effects of a coronavirus pandemic significantly. Moreover, we conclude that contributions to certain multilateral organizationsÕ, including the WHO, should not only refer to standard elements of payments such as income (or trade) but also to the share of the population aged 65 years and over and PM2.5 indicators.
    Keywords: Coronavirus Pandemic, Case Fatalities, OECD Countries, Health Systems, Economic Development, Policy
    JEL: F00 F01 I18 Q50
    Date: 2020–06
  29. By: Reher, David S.; Requena, Miguel; de Santis, Gustavo; Esteve, Albert; Bacci, Massimo Livi; Padyab, Mojgan; Sandström, Glenn
    Abstract: Since death rates from the COVID-19 are highest among the oldest, the impact of the current pandemic in a given society depends to a large extent on the share of elderly persons and their living arrangements. Whereas the former is well known, the latter is not. Arguably, contagion itself and the severity of its symptoms are likely to vary among elderly persons living alone, co-residing with family members or dwelling in institutions. Arguments in favour and against the premise that single-living elderly are better able to self-isolate can be made. Long-term care facilities have worsened the effects of the epidemic because they have often become death traps in some but not all countries. Once contagion takes place, living arrangements can make a huge difference in the way the disease can be managed by the individual, his family and society. Properly understanding the dynamics of contagion and the handling of the disease in terms of living arrangements of elderly people is essential for effectively tackling future outbreaks of similar epidemics.
    Date: 2020–04–18
  30. By: Grow, André; Perrotta, Daniela; Del Fava, Emanuele (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Germany); Cimentada, Jorge; Rampazzo, Francesco; Gil-Clavel, Sofia (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research); Zagheni, Emilio
    Abstract: Surveys of the general population can provide crucial information for designing effective non-pharmaceutical interventions to tackle public health emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, conducting such surveys can be difficult, especially when timely data collection is required. In this paper, we discuss our experiences with using targeted Facebook advertising campaigns to address these difficulties in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. We describe central advantages, challenges, and practical considerations. This includes a discussion of potential sources of bias and how they can be addressed.
    Date: 2020–05–30
  31. By: Katafuchi, Yuya; Kurita, Kenichi; Managi, Shunsuke
    Abstract: This study conducts both theoretical and empirical analyses of how the non-legally-binding policies originating from COVID-19 affect people's going-out behavior. The theoretical analysis assumes that under a declared state of emergency, the individual going out suffers psychological costs arising from both the risk of infection and the stigma of going out. Our hypothesis is derived that under a declared state of emergency, going out entails a strong psychological cost, and people refrain from going out. Then, this study estimates the model using regional mobility data and emergency declarations data to analyze self-restraint behavior under a non-legally binding emergency declaration. The results show that, compared with the pre-declaration of the state of emergency, going-out behavior under and after lifting of the state of emergency was suppressed even when the going-out behavior did not result in penalties, which is consistent with the theoretical analysis.
    Keywords: COVID-19, Stigma, Self-restraint behavior, Non-legally binding policy, Regional mobility
    JEL: I12 I18
    Date: 2020–08–02
  32. By: Soria, Krista M; McAndrew, Molly; Horgos, Bonnie; Chirikov, Igor; Jones-White, Daniel
    Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant hardships for student caregivers enrolled at large, public research universities, according to the Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) Consortium survey of 30,593 undergraduate students conducted May through July 2020 at nine universities. In the survey, 6% of respondents (n = 1,767) identified as caregivers for children, 11% of respondents (n = 3,236) identified as caregivers for other adults (age 18 and over), and 3% (n = 874) cared for both children and adults during the pandemic. Students who were caregivers for children may have been parents caring for their own children or family members (e.g., siblings). Students who were caregivers for adults may have been caring for their family members (e.g., parents, partners, spouses) or others.
    Keywords: Education, Social and Behavioral Sciences
    Date: 2020–09–17
  33. By: Sujeong Park; David Powell
    Abstract: There is considerable interest in understanding the broader effects of the opioid crisis on labor supply and social insurance programs in the United States. This paper examines how the recent transition of the opioid crisis from prescription opioids to more prevalent misuse of illicit opioids, such as heroin and fentanyl, altered labor supply behavior and disability insurance claiming rates. We exploit differential geographic exposure to the reformulation of OxyContin, the largest reduction in access to abusable prescription opioids to date, to study the effects of substitution to illicit markets. We observe meaningful reductions in labor supply measured in terms of employment-to-population ratios, hours worked, and earnings. We also find significant increases in disability applications and beneficiaries. These labor supply and disability insurance shifts begin immediately after reformulation and are uniquely associated with pre-reformulation rates of OxyContin misuse, not rates of broader pain reliever misuse.
    JEL: J22 H55 I12
    Date: 2020–09
  34. By: Panos Toulis (University of Chicago - Booth School of Business)
    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 Þnite 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 deÞnite 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.
    Keywords: partial identification; disease prevalence; serology tests; Covid-19
    JEL: C12 C14 I10
    Date: 2020
  35. By: Hassink, Wolter (Utrecht University); Kalb, Guyonne (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research); Meekes, Jordy (University of Melbourne)
    Abstract: We explore the impact of COVID-19 hotspots and regional lockdowns on the Dutch labour market. Using weekly administrative panel microdata for 50 per cent of Dutch employees until the end of March 2020, we study whether individual labour market outcomes, as measured by employment, working hours and hourly wages, were more strongly affected in provinces where COVID-19 confirmed cases, hospitalizations and mortality were relatively high. We do not observe a region-specific impact of COVID-19 on labour market outcomes. The results suggest individual characteristics are more important, including the employee's age, type of contract and type of job. The evidence suggests that the decline of the labour market was all due to the impacts from the government-enforced lockdown and higher virus case numbers did not reinforce this decline. This suggests that preventive health measures should be at the regional level, isolating hotspots from low-risk areas.
    Keywords: COVID-19, coronavirus hotspots, lockdown, employment, working hours, wages
    JEL: I15 I18 J20 J30 J64
    Date: 2020–09
  36. By: Dave, Dhaval M. (Bentley University); Friedson, Andrew I. (University of Colorado Denver); McNichols, Drew (San Diego State University); Sabia, Joseph J. (San Diego State University)
    Abstract: Large in-person gatherings without social distancing and with individuals who have traveled outside the local area are classified as the "highest risk" for COVID-19 spread by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Between August 7 and August 16, 2020, nearly 500,000 motorcycle enthusiasts converged on Sturgis, South Dakota for its annual motorcycle rally. Large crowds, coupled with minimal mask-wearing and social distancing by attendees, raised concerns that this event could serve as a COVID-19 "super-spreader." This study is the first to explore the impact of this event on social distancing and the spread of COVID-19. First, using anonymized cell phone data from SafeGraph, Inc. we document that (i) smartphone pings from non-residents, and (ii) foot traffic at restaurants and bars, retail establishments, entertainment venues, hotels and campgrounds each rose substantially in the census block groups hosting Sturgis rally events. Stay-at-home behavior among local residents, as measured by median hours spent at home, fell. Second, using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and a synthetic control approach, we show that by September 2, a month following the onset of the Rally, COVID-19 cases increased by approximately 6 to 7 cases per 1,000 population in its home county of Meade. Finally, difference-in-differences (dose response) estimates show that following the Sturgis event, counties that contributed the highest inflows of rally attendees experienced a 7.0 to 12.5 percent increase in COVID-19 cases relative to counties that did not contribute inflows. Descriptive evidence suggests these effects may be muted in states with stricter mitigation policies (i.e., restrictions on bar/restaurant openings, mask-wearing mandates). We conclude that the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally generated public health costs of approximately $12.2 billion.
    Keywords: large outdoor gathering, COVID-19, Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, social distancing
    JEL: H75 I1
    Date: 2020–09
  37. By: Andrey Simonov (Columbia University); Szymon Sacher (Columbia University); Jean-Pierre Dube (University of Chicago - Booth School of Business and NBER); Shirsho Biswas (University of Chicago - Booth School of Business)
    Abstract: We test for and measure the effects of cable news in the US on regional differences in compliance with recommendations by health experts to practice social distancing during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. We use a quasi-experimental design to estimate the causal effect of Fox News viewership on stay-at-home behavior by using only the incremental local viewership due to the quasi-random assignment of channel positions in a local cable line-up. We find that a 10% increase in Fox News cable viewership (approximately 0.13 higher viewer rating points) leads to a 1.3 percentage point reduction in the propensity to stay at home. We find a persuasion rate of Fox News on non-compliance with stay-at-home behavior during the crisis of about 5.7%-28.4% across our various social distancing metrics.
    Date: 2020
  38. By: Krekel, Christian (London School of Economics); Swanke, Sarah (London School of Economics); De Neve, Jan-Emmanuel (University of Oxford); Fancourt, Daisy (University College London)
    Abstract: Around the world, governments have been asking their citizens to practice physical distancing and stay at home to contain the spread of Covid-19. Are happier people more willing to comply with these measures? Using three independent surveys covering over 119,000 adult respondents across 35 countries, including longitudinal data from the UK, we test competing psychological theories, and find that past and present happiness predicts compliance during lockdown. The relationship is stronger for those with higher levels of happiness. A negative mood, or loss in happiness, predicts lower compliance. We explore risk-avoidance and pro-social motivations for compliance, and find that these are not uniform but dependent on personal characteristics and context: people who are older or have certain medical preconditions seem to be predominantly motivated by risk-avoidance, whereas motivations of people who are less at risk of Covid-19 seem more mixed. Our findings have implications for policy design, targeting, and communication.
    Keywords: COVID-19, lockdown compliance, happiness, mood maintenance, risk-avoidance, pro-sociality
    JEL: I31 D91 I12
    Date: 2020–09
  39. By: Kenneth Lee (Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago in India); Harshil Sahai (University of Chicago - Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics); Patrick Baylis (University of British Columbia - Vancouver School of Economics); Michael Greenstone (University of Chicago - Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics)
    Abstract: On March 24, 2020, the Prime Minister of India announced the world's largest COVID-19 lockdown. We summarize the initial impacts of the lockdown for a representative sample of mostly poor and non-migrant workers in Delhi. Using Facebook mobility data, we show that intra-city movement dropped 80 percent following the announcement. Using microeconomic survey data, collected before and during the crisis, we highlight three patterns. First, the lockdown resulted in significant economic costs, with income and days worked falling by 57 and 73 percent, respectively. Second, the lockdown resulted in widespread compliance with public health directives: mask usage rose by 73 percentage points (pp); time spent indoors increased by 51 pp; smoking decreased by 13 pp; and handwashing rose by 10 pp. Third, the economic impacts of the lockdown were somewhat mitigated by government food assistance, which 36 percent of our sample accessed. Over the first seven weeks of the lockdown, we do not observe alarming levels of hunger, scarcity, access to medical care, or security. Yet in our data, concerns remain about mental health, supply chains, and personal savings, against the backdrop of arising infection rate. Moreover, it remains to be seen whether public health compliance will persist, as the novelty, fear, and media coverage of COVID-19 subside.
    Date: 2020
  40. By: Cook, Will
    Abstract: The Covid-19 crisis has led to disruption to schooling across the world. Though it is recognized that pupils are suffering immediate learning loss, there exists a lack of understanding as to how this disruption might affect longer-term educational outcomes. This study considers this issue by examining the effect of school disruption in England due to restrictions put in place to manage the Foot and Mouth Disease epidemic in cattle in 2001. Using a difference in difference approach, I analyze whether primary schools that had been significantly disrupted by the epidemic experienced lower performance in standardized tests in English, maths and science for 11 year olds in the year of the outbreak and in subsequent years. I find that primary schools that had been significantly disrupted by the measures to contain the epidemic exhibited achievement falls in the year immediately after the outbreak, driven by sizeable falls in maths performance. The negative effects weaken in subsequent years suggesting that the effects of school disruption may fade out as cohorts progress through schooling.
    Keywords: Covid, school disruption
    JEL: I21
    Date: 2020–07–22
  41. By: Peter Ganong (University of Chicago); Pascal Noel (University of Chicago - Booth School of Business); Joseph Vavra (University of Chicago - Booth School of Business)
    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.
    Date: 2020
  42. By: Cerqua, Augusto; Di Stefano, Roberta
    Abstract: The first cluster of coronavirus cases in Europe was officially detected on 21st February 2020 in Northern Italy, even if recent evidence showed sporadic first cases in Europe at the beginning of the year. In this study we have tested the presence of coronavirus in Italy and, even more importantly, we have assessed whether the virus had already spread sooner than 21st February. We use a counterfactual approach and certified daily data on the number of deaths (deaths from any cause, not only related to coronavirus) at the municipality level. Our estimates confirm that coronavirus began spreading in Northern Italy at least a week before the beginning of February.
    Keywords: Coronavirus; Europe; Counterfactual approach
    JEL: C21 I10
    Date: 2020–04
  43. By: Fernando Alvarez (University of Chicago - Booth School of Business and NBER); David Argente (Pennsylvania State University)
    Abstract: We study the optimal lockdown policy for a planner who controls the fatalities of a pandemic while minimizing the output costs of the lockdown. The policy depends on the fraction of infected and susceptible in the population, prescribing a severe lockdown beginning two weeks after the outbreak, covering 60% of the population after a month, and gradually withdrawing to 20% of the population after 3 months. The intensity of the optimal lockdown depends on the gradient of the fatality rate with respect to the infected, and the availability of antibody testing that yields a welfare gain of 2% of GDP.
    Keywords: Dynamic programming, epidemic control, lockdown, Quarantine
    JEL: C61 I10 I18
    Date: 2020
  44. By: Austin L. Wright (University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy); Konstantin Sonin (University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy); Jesse Driscoll (University of California at San Diego); Jarnickae Wilson (University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy)
    Abstract: Shelter-in-place policies reduce social contact and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. In-consistent compliance with social distancing creates local and regional interpersonal trans-mission risks. Using county-day measures on population movement derived from cellphone location data, we investigate whether compliance with local shelter-in-place ordinances varies across US counties with different economic endowments. Our theoretical model implies economic endowments will influence compliance with social distancing. We find evidence that low income areas do comply less than counties with stronger economic endowments. Findings suggest targeted economic relief could improve future compliance with public health interventions.
    Keywords: COVID-19, shelter-in-place, compliance
    JEL: H12 I18
    Date: 2020
  45. By: Blofield, Merike; Giambruno, Cecilia; Filgueira, Fernando
    Abstract: The document analyzes the social protection responses of ten Latin American countries since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-March 2020. The first section outlines the social context at the time the pandemic hit, case selection of the ten countries examined, and data on existing social protections. The second section provides an overview of income protection responses in response to COVID-19, in the ten countries, assessing speed, breadth and sufficiency. The third section provides detailed country responses in paired comparisons: Argentina and Chile; Peru and the Plurinational State of Bolivia; Brazil and Mexico; Colombia and Ecuador; and Uruguay and Costa Rica. The fourth section provides a conclusion, and tentative lessons for the medium term.
    Date: 2020–09–17
  46. By: MORIKAWA Masayuki
    Abstract: Using data from an original survey conducted in June 2020, this study examines the prevalence, frequency, and productivity of working from home (WFH) practices during the COVID-19 pandemic in Japan. The results reveal that the percentage of employees who practiced WFH was approximately 32%. Labor input attributed to WFH arrangements accounted for approximately 19% of total working hours. Highly educated, high-wage, white-collar employees who work in large firms in metropolitan areas tended to practice WFH. The mean WFH productivity relative to working at the usual workplace was about 60% to 70%, and it was lower for employees who started WFH practices only after the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, highly educated, and high-wage employees, as well as long-distance commuters, tended to exhibit a relatively small reduction in WFH productivity.
    Date: 2020–09
  47. By: Simon Mongey (University of Chicago); Laura Pilossoph (Federal Reserve Bank of New York); Alex Weinberg (University of Chicago)
    Abstract: What are the characteristics of workers in jobs likely to be initially affected by broad social distancing and later by narrower policy tailored to jobs with low risk of disease transmission? We use ONET to construct a measure of the likelihood that jobs can be conducted from home (a variant of Dingel and Neiman, 2020) and a measure of low physical proximity to others at work. We validate the measures by showing how they relate to similar measures constructed using time use data from ATUS. Our main finding is that workers in low-work-from-home or high-physical-proximity jobs are more economically vulnerable across various measures constructed from the CPS and PSID: they are less educated, of lower income, have fewer liquid assets relative to income, and are more likely renters. We further substantiate the measures with behavior during the epidemic. First, we show that MSAs with less pre-virus employment in work-from-home jobs experienced smaller declines in the incidence of `staying-at-home', as measured using SafeGraph cell phone data. Second, we show that both occupations and types of workers predicted to be employed in low work-from-home jobs experienced greater declines in employment according to the March 2020 CPS. For example, non-college educated workers experienced a 4ppt larger decline in employment relative to those with a college degree.
    Keywords: Coronavirus, employment, social policy, occupations, demographics
    Date: 2020
  48. By: John Manuel Barrios (University of Chicago - Booth School of Business); Ozan Candogan (University of Chicago - Booth School of Business); Yiding Feng (Northwestern University)
    Abstract: We propose a spatial epidemic spread model to study the COVID-19 epidemic. In our model, a city consists of multiple neighborhoods, each of which has five disease compartments (susceptible/exposed/infected clinical/infected subclinical/recovered). Due to the movement of individuals across neighborhoods (e.g., commuting to work), the infections in one neighborhood can trigger infections in others. We consider the problem of a planner who reduces the economic activity in a targeted way to curb the spread of the epidemic. We focus both on the regime with a small number of infections and the regime with a large number of infections, and provide a framework for obtaining the policies that induce the lowest economic costs. We use the available data on individualsÕ movements, level of economic activity in different neighborhoods, and the state of the epidemic to apply our framework to the control of the epidemic in NYC. Our results indicate that targeted closures can achieve the same policy goals at substantially lower economic losses than city-wide closure policies. In addition, to curb the spread of the epidemic in NYC, coordination with other counties is paramount. Finally, the optimal policy (under different scenarios) promotes some level of economic activity in Midtown Manhattan locations (due to their economic importance) while imposing closures in many other neighborhoods in the city (to curb the spread of the disease). Contrary to what might be intuitively expected, and due to the spatial aspect of the epidemic spread, neighborhoods with higher level of infections should not necessarily be the ones exposed to the most stringent economic closure measures.
    Date: 2020
  49. By: Vellore Arthi; John Parman
    Abstract: How might COVID-19 affect human capital and wellbeing in the long run? The COVID-19 pandemic has already imposed a heavy human cost—taken together, this public health crisis and its attendant economic downturn appear poised to dwarf the scope, scale, and disruptiveness of most modern pandemics. What evidence we do have about other modern pandemics is largely limited to short-run impacts. Consequently, recent experience can do little to help us anticipate and respond to COVID-19’s potential long-run impact on individuals over decades and even generations. History, however, offers a solution. Historical crises offer closer analogues to COVID-19 in each of its key dimensions—as a global pandemic, as a global recession—and offer the runway necessary to study the life-course and intergenerational outcomes. In this paper, we review the evidence on the long-run effects on health, labor, and human capital of both historical pandemics (with a focus on the 1918 Influenza Pandemic) and historical recessions (with a focus on the Great Depression). We conclude by discussing how past crises can inform our approach to COVID-19—helping tell us what to look for, what to prepare for, and what data we ought to collect now.
    JEL: I1 I3 J1 J6 N1 N3
    Date: 2020–09

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