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117 posts

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, https://doi.org/10.21033/wp-2020-11.

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:https://voxeu.org/article/coronavirus-panic-fuels-surge-cash-demand, 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

De-Globalisation?

Pol Antràs: De-Globalisation? Global Value Chains in the Post-COVID-19 Age, in: NBER Working Paper Series, Working Paper Nr. 28115 (November 2020).

This paper evaluates the extent to which the world economy has entered a phase of de-globalisation, and it offers some speculative thoughts on the future of global value chains in the post-COVID-19 age. Continue reading

IMF: World Economic Outlook

International Monetary Fund (ed.): World Economic Outlook Update. Policy Support and Vaccines Expected to Lift Activity (January 2021).

Policy Support and Vaccines Expected to Lift Activity

From the report:

“Although recent vaccine approvals have raised hopes of a turnaround in the pandemic later this year, renewed waves and new variants of the virus pose concerns for the outlook. Continue reading

Civil Liberties in Times of Crisis

Marcella Alsan, Luca Braghieri, Sarah Eichmeyer, Minjeong Joyce Kim, Stefanie Stantcheva, David Y. Yang: Civil Liberties in Times of Crisis, in: NBER Working Paper Series, Working Paper Nr. 27972 (October 2020).

Civil liberties are sometimes considered non-tradable and “sacred,” and their protection a hallmark of democracies. Using representative surveys of 480,000 respondents from 15 countries, the Authors found that citizens demonstrate a clear willingness to trade off civil liberties for improved public health conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Continue reading

Globalization and Pandemics

Pol Antràs, Stephen J. Redding, Esteban Rossi-Hansberg: Globalization and Pandemics, in. NBER Working Paper Series, Working Paper No. 27840 (September 2020).

The authors develop a model of human interaction to analyze the relationship between globalization and pandemics. Their framework provides joint microfoundations for the gravity equation for international trade and the Susceptible-Infected-Recovered (SIR) model of disease dynamics. The authors show that there are cross-country epidemiological externalities, such that whether a global pandemic breaks out depends critically on the disease environment in the country with the highest rates of domestic infection. Continue reading

Health inequality and the 1918 influenza in South Africa

Johan Fourie, Jonathan Jayes: Health inequality and the 1918 influenza in South Africa, in: CAGE Online Working Paper Series No. 532 (January 2021), pp. 1-35.

The 1918 influenza – the “Spanish flu” – killed an estimated 6% of South Africans. Not all were equally affected. Mortality rates were particularly high in districts with a large share of black and coloured residents. To investigate why this happened, the authors transcribed 39,482 death certificates from the Cape Province. Continue reading

Unequal Mortality during the “Spanish Flu”

Sergi Basco, Jordi Domènech, Joan R. Rosés: Unequal Mortality during the Spanish Flu, in The London School of Economics and Poltical Science, Economic History Department, Economic History Working Papers No. 325 (February 2021).

The outburst of deaths and cases of Covid-19 around the world has renewed the interest to understand the mortality effects of pandemics across regions, occupations, age and gender. According to the authors the “Spanish Flu” is the closest pandemic to Covid-19. Continue reading

Effects on Gross Domestic Product

Maciej Stefański: GDP Effects of Pandemics: A Historical Perspective, in: Collegium of Economic Analysis Working Paper Series, Working Paper 2020/057 (December 2020).

The author estimates dynamic effects of pandemics on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita with local projections, controlling for the effects of wars and weather conditions, using a novel dataset that covers 33 countries and stretches back to the 13th century. Continue reading