Sergio Correira, Stepahn Luck, Emil Verner: Pandemics Depress the Economy, Public Health Interventions Do Not: Evidence from the 1918 Flu, in: SSRN (June 5, 2020), online in: http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3561560.
The authors studied the impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) on mortality and economic activity across U.S. cities during the 1918 Flu Pandemic. The combination of fast and stringent NPIs reduced peak mortality by 50% and cumulative excess mortality by 24% to 34%. However, while the pandemic itself was associated with short-run economic disruptions, the authors found that these disruptions were similar across cities with strict and lenient NPIs. NPIs also did not worsen medium-run economic outcomes. The authors findings indicate that NPIs can reduce disease transmission without further depressing economic activity, a finding also reflected in discussions in contemporary newspapers.