124 posts

Wuhan, a new Hiroshima?

Bruno Canard, Étienne Decroly: Wuhan, ein neues Hiroshima? First published in Manière de voir No. 179 (October / November 2021), translation: Bernd Schrader.

The authors are research directors of the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Laboratory of Architecture and Function of Biological Macromolecules, University of Aix-Marseille.

The exact origin of the Covid-19 pandemic remains unknown, no solid evidence allows to validate the hypotheses. Many scientists demand an independent investigation, freed from the resistance of the Chinese authorities. Because the negligence observed in Wuhan raises questions about the genetic manipulations carried out in this laboratory, as in those of the same type all over the world.

Link to article as PDF file

mRNA vaccines in comparison

Arjun Puranik, Patrick J. Lenehan, Eli Silvert, Michiel J.M. Niesen, Juan Corchado-Garcia, John C. O’Horo, Abinash Virk, Melanie D. Swift, John Halamka, Andrew D. Badley, A.J. Venkatakrishnan, Venky Soundararajan: Comparison of two highly-effective mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 during periods of Alpha and Delta variant prevalence, in: medRxiv (August 21, 2021),

Although clinical trials and real-world studies have affirmed the effectiveness and safety of the FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines, reports of breakthrough infections and persistent emergence of new variants highlight the need to vigilantly monitor the effectiveness of these vaccines. Continue reading

Impact of Delta

Koen B. Pouwels, Emma Pritchard, Philippa C. Matthews, Nicole Stoesser, David W. Eyre, Karina-Doris Vihta, Thomas House, Jodie Hay, John I. Bell, John N. Newton, Jeremy Farrar, Derrick Crook, Duncan Cook, Emma Rourke, Ruth Studley, Tim Peto, Ian Diamond, A. Sarah Walker and the COVID-19 Infection Survey Team: Impact of Delta on viral burden and vaccine effectiveness against new SARS-CoV-2 infections in the UK , in: medRxiv (August 24, 2021),

The effectiveness of BNT162b2, ChAdOx1, and mRNA-1273 vaccines against new SARS-CoV-2 infections requires continuous re-evaluation, given the increasingly dominant Delta variant. The authors investigated the effectiveness of the vaccines in a large community-based survey of randomly selected households across the UK. Continue reading

End of the neoliberal era?

Adam Tooze: Has Covid ended the neoliberal era?, in: The Guardian Online (September 2, 2021), online in:

According to Adam Tooze, the year 2020 revealed the risks and weaknesses of the market-oriented global system as never before. For him, it gave the impression that a turning point had been reached.

Link to the article on the website of The Guardian newspaper

Influenza Pandemic 1918 and Italian Fascism

Gregori GalofréVilà, María GómezLeón, David Stuckler: A Lesson from History? The 1918 Influenza pandemic and the rise of Italian Fascism: A crosscity quantitative and historical text qualitative analysis, in: Working Paper Documentos de Trabajo No. 2102 (19.7.2021).

Objectives: Evidence linking past experiences of worsening health and support for radical political views has generated concerns about the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. The influenza pandemic that began in 1918 had a devastating impact on mortality. The authors test the hypothesis that deaths from the 1918 influenza pandemic contributed to the rise of fascism in Italy. Continue reading

World Happiness Report 2021

John F. Helliwell, Richard Layard, Jeffrey D. Sachs, Jan-Emmanuel De Neve (eds.): World Happiness Report 2021, New York: Sustainable Development Solutions Network (2021).

The World Happiness Report 2021 focuses on the effects of COVID-19 and how people all over the world have fared. Continue reading

Impact on the Italian demographic structure

Giacomo Caracciolo, Salvatore Lo Bello, Dario Pellegrino: An assessment on the potential impact of COVID-19 on the Italian demographic structure; in Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area (ed.): Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 622 (June 2021).

Relative to past pandemics, the mortality effects of Covid-19 on the demographic structure are likely smaller. However, the behavioural effects of the economic crisis on the decisions to have children and to migrate may be substantial. The literature on the relationship between the economic cycle and demographics uncovers the potential of the unemployment rate to predict fertility and migrations. Continue reading

US Economy During the 1918 Pandemic

François R. Velde: What Happened to the US Economy During the 1918 Influenza Pandemic?, in: Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Working Paper, No. 2020-11, April 2020,

Arthur F. Burns and Wesley C. Mitchell discovered for 1918 a recession of “exceptional brevity and moderate amplitude” in their 1946 publication. François R. Velde confirms their judgment by examining a variety of high-frequency, aggregate and cross-sectional data. Continue reading

Awareness of pandemics

Alejandro Buesa, Javier J. Pérez, Daniel Santabárbara: Awareness of pandemics and the impact of Covid-19, in: Banco de España (ed.), Documentos de Trabajo, No. 2123, May 2021.

“Awareness” about the occurrence of viral infectious (or other) tail risks can influence their socioeconomic inter-temporal impacts. A branch of the literature finds that prior lifetime exposure to signicant shocks can affect people and societies, i.e. by changing their perceived probability about the occurrence of an extreme, negative shock in the future. Continue reading

Do Pandemics Shape Elections?

Leticia Abad, Noel Maurer: Do Pandemics Shape Elections? Retrospective voting in the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic in the United States, in: SSRN preprint, version 1, posted 2020 August 28, doi: 10.2139/ssrn.3680286

Abstract: In 2020, many observers were surprised that the Covid-19 outbreak did not appear to have swung the election. Early returns showed little indication that harder-hit areas swung away from the incumbent “GOP”. Continue reading

Surge in cash demand

Jonathan Ashworth, Charles Goodhart: Coronavirus panic fuels a surge in cash demand, in: VOX, CEPR Policy Portal, online in:, July 17, 2020.

Despite regular reports in the media over the past decade on the imminent death of cash amid rapid innovation in payment technologies, cash in circulation has actually been growing strongly in many countries. Perhaps unsurprisingly given coronavirus-related health concerns, there have recently been renewed calls to abandon cash and some observers have argued the virus will accelerate its demise. Continue reading

Socio-economic impact of pandemics in Africa

Dirk Kohnert: On the socio-economic impact of pandemics in Africa : Lessons learned from COVID-19, Trypanosomiasis, HIV, Yellow Fever and Cholera (May 2021).

Throughout history, nothing has killed more human beings than infectious diseases. Although, death rates from pandemics dropped globally by about 0.8 % per year, all the way through the 20th century, the number of new infectious diseases like SARS, HIV and Covid-19 increased by nearly fourfold over the past century. In Africa, there were reported a total of 4,522,489 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 119,816 death, as of 23 April 2021. Continue reading

Epidemics in modern economies

Torsten Heinrich: Epidemics in modern economies, in: arXiv:2105.02387v2 [econ.GN] (May 13, 2021).

How are economies in a modern age impacted by epidemics? In what ways is economic life disrupted? How can pandemics be modeled? What can be done to mitigate and manage the danger? Does the threat of pandemics increase or decrease in the modern world? The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of these questions and the potential of complex systems science to provide answers. This article offers a broad overview of the history of pandemics, of established facts, and of models of infection diffusion, mitigation strategies, and economic impact. The example of the Covid-19 pandemic is used to illustrate the theoretical aspects, but the article also includes considerations concerning other historic epidemics and the danger of more infectious and less controllable outbreaks in the future.

Link to the article on the Cornell University page

Download link to the PDF file of the article on the Cornell University page

The impact of past pandemics on economic and gender inequalities.

Michal Brzezinski: The Impact of Past Pandemics on Economic and Gender Inequalities, in:

In this paper Michal Brzezinski estimates how previous major pandemic events affected economic and gender inequalities in the short- to medium run. He considers the impact of six major pandemic episodes – H3N2 Flu (1968), SARS (2003), H1N1 Swine Flu (2009), MERS (2012), Ebola (2014), and Zika (2016) – on cross-country inequalities in a sample of up to 180 countries observed over 1950-2019. Continue reading

Crisis politics and US farm labor

Nezahualcoyotl Xiuhtecutli, Annie Shattuck: Crisis politics and US farm labor: health justice and Florida farmworkers amid a pandemic, in: The Journal of Peasent Studies 48 (2021) No. 1, pp. 73-98, DOI: 10.1080/03066150.2020.1856089

Globally, farmworkers are among the most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout. Longstanding social and spatial inequalities allowed COVID-19 to spread unchecked, propelling a surge in farmworker activism, while the state uses the crisis to rollback worker protections. Continue reading

The crisis and the food system

Jan Douwe van der Ploeg: From biomedical to politico-economic crisis: the food system in times of Covid-19, in: The Journal of Peasant Studies 47 (2020) No. 5, pp. 944-972, DOI: 10.1080/03066150.2020.1794843

Covid-19 is quickly developing into a deep, global and enduring politico-economic crisis that involves a rapid disarticulation of the production, processing, distribution and consumption of food. The badly balanced world market and the high degree of financialization of both primary agricultural production and food chains are decisive factors in this. Continue reading

Post-Covid-19 Agriculture

Miguel A. Altieri, Clara I. Nicholls: Agroecology and the reconstruction of a post-COVID-19 agriculture, in: The Journal of Peasant Studies 47 (2020) No. 5, pp. 881-898, DOI:10.1080/03066150.2020.1782891.

The COVID-19 crisis has created a moment where existing calls for agroecology acquire new relevance. Agroecology provides a path to reconstruct a post-COVID-19 agriculture, one that is able to avoid widespread disruptions of food supplies in the future by territorializing food production and consumption. Continue reading

Influenza Pandemics and Macroeconomic Fluctuations

Fraser Summerfield, Livio Di Matteo: Influenza Pandemics and Macroeconomic Fluctuations in Recent Economic History, in: CCHE/CCES Working Paper No. 210,002 (March, 2021).

COVID-19 and the associated economic disruption is not a unique pairing. Catastrophic health events including the ‘Black Death’ and the ‘Spanish Flu’ also featured major economic disruptions. This paper focuses on significant health shocks during 1870-2016 from a singular virus: influenza. Continue reading

Second ad hoc statement

Gerd Glaeske et al.: 2. Ad hoc-Stellungnahme. Die Pandemie durch SARS-CoV-2/Covid-19 – Zentralisierte Willkür: Über den Entwurf eines 4. Bevölkerungsschutzgesetzes, Bremen et al. April 14, 2021.

Résumé of the statement: Continue reading