106 posts

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


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

Lockdowns and Innovation

Enrico Berkes, Olivier Deschenes, Ruben Gaetani, Jeffrey Lin, Christopher Severen: Lockdowns and Innovation: Evidence from the 1918 Flu Pandemic, in: NBER Working Paper Series, Working Paper 28152 (November 2020), DOI: 10.3386/w28152.

In their article, the authors address the question of whether social distancing harms innovation. They provide an assessment of the effect of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) on local inventions. Continue reading

Lessons from the “Spanish flu” for the impact of Covid-19.

Robert J. Barro, José F. Ursua, Joanna Weng: The Coronavirus and the Great Influenza Epidemic. Lessons from the “Spanish Flu” for the Coronavirus’s Potential Effects on Mortality and Economic Activity, in: NBER Working Paper Series, Working Paper 26866, March/April 2020.

According to the authors of this paper, mortality and economic contraction during the 1918-1920 Great Influenza Pandemic provide plausible upper bounds for outcomes under the coronavirus (COVID-19). Continue reading

Stay‑at‑home policy is a case of exception fallacy

Ricardo F. Savaris, Guilherme Pumi, Jovani Dalzochio, Rafael Kunst: Stay-at-home policy is a case of exception fallacy: an internet-based ecological study, in: Scientific Reports 11 (2021) Article 5313, DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-84092-1.

A recent mathematical model has suggested that staying at home did not play a dominant role in reducing COVID‑19 transmission. The second wave of cases in Europe, in regions that were considered as COVID‑19 controlled, may raise some concerns. The authors objective was to assess the association between staying at home (%) and the reduction/increase in the number of deaths due to COVID‑19 in several regions in the world. Continue reading

Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions in Europe

Paul R. Hunter, Felipe J. Colón-González, Julii Brainard, Steven Rushton: Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions against COVID-19 in Europe: A quasi-experimental study, in: medRxiv, July 2020, doi:

The current COVID-19 epidemic is unparalleled in recent history as are the social distancing interventions that have led to a significant halt on the economic and social life of so many countries. However, there is very little empirical evidence about which social distancing measures have the most impact. The authors report a quasi-experimental study of the impact of various interventions for control of the outbreak. Continue reading

Pandemic recession, helicopter money and central banking: Venice, 1630

Charles A. E. Goodhart, Donato Masciandaro, Stefano Ugolini: Pandemic recession, helicopter money and central banking: Venice, 1630, in: CEPR discussion paper series, Discussion Paper No. 15715, London, January 2021.

This paper analyses the monetary policy that the Most Serene Republic of Venice implemented in the years of calamities using a modern equivalent of helicopter money, precisely an extraordinary money issuing, coupled with capital losses for the issuer. Continue reading

Inferring the effectiveness of government interventions

Jan M. Brauner et al: Inferring the effectiveness of government interventions against Covid-19, in Science 371 (February 2021) no. 6531, pp. 1-8, DOI: 10.1126/science.abd9338.

Governments are attempting to control the COVID-19 pandemic with nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs). However, the effectiveness of various NPIs at reducing transmission is poorly understood. The authors collected chronological data on the implementation of NPIs for several European and non-European countries between January and the end of May 2020.

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School Closures During the 1918 Flu Pandemic.

Philipp Ager, Katherine Eriksson, Ezra Karger, Peter Nencka, Melissa A. Thomasson: School Closures During the 1918 Flu Pandemic, in: NBER Working Paper Series, Working Paper No. 28246 (December 2020), DOI: 10.3386/w28246.

The Covid 19 pandemic has reignited interest in responses to the 1918/19 influenza pandemic, the last comparable public health emergency in the United States. During both pandemics, many state and local governments made the controversial decision to close schools. The authors studied the short- and long-term effects of 1918-19 pandemic-related school closures on children.

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The 1918/20 Pandemic Mattered for Stock Prices

Marco Del Angel, Caroline Fohlin, Marc D. Weidenmier: Do Global Pandemics Matter for Stock Prices? Lessons from the 1918 Spanish Flu, in: NBER Working Paper Series, Working Paper 28356, January 2021, DOI: 10.3386/w28356.

The authors examine the impact of the 1918 “Spanish” flu on stock prices in the United States.

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Influences of interventions and socioeconomic factors.

Rabail Chaudhry, George Dranitsaris, Talha Mubashir, Justyna Bartoszko, Sheila Riazi: A country level analysis measuring the impact of government actions, country preparedness and socioeconomic factors on COVID-19 mortality and related health outcomes, in: EClinicalMedicine 25 (2020) 100464, DOI:

The authors conducted a country-level exploratoy analysis to assess the impact of timing and nature of national health policies or actions taken on COVID-19 mortality and related health outcomes.

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Oxfam Inequalitiy Report

Oxfam Deutschland e.V. (Ed.): Das Ungleichheitsvirus. Wie die Corona-Pandemie soziale Ungleichheit verschärft und warum wir unsere Wirtschaft gerechter gestalten müssen (The Inequality Virus. How the Corona Pandemic Exacerbates Social Inequality and Why We Need to Make Our Economy Fairer), Berlin, January 2021.

Ahead of the World Economic Forum, Oxfam publishes the report “The Inequality Virus.” The report shows how the Corona pandemic is exacerbating social inequality and why the solution lies in a just economic system.

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Mortality and Adaptation Options

Quentin De Larochelambert, Andy Marc, Juliana Antero, Eric Le Bourg, Jean-François Toussaint: Covid-19 Mortality: A Matter of Vulnerability Among Nations Facing Limited Margins of Adaptation, in: Frontiers in Public Health, Vol. 8, Artikel 604339, November 2020.

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