Pandemic History

24 posts

The history of pandemics

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

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

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

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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The Justinianic Plague

Forum: Zeiterfahrung: Mischa Meier: Die Justinianische Pest – im Spiegel der Covid-19-Pandemie betrachtet (The Justinianic Plague – seen in the mirror of the Covid 19 pandemic), in: H-Soz-Kult, 27.11.2020, online in: (Stand: 14.12.2020).

Based on the basic assumption that the experience of the Covid-19 pandemic has framed the subjects of his own research in a new way, the author of the article examines the Justinianic Plague on the basis of four texts from late antiquity and with the help of a theoretical model of the Tübingen Sonderforschungsbereich 923 “Bedrohte Ordnungen” (Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) 923 “Threatened Order – Societies under Stress”). The author is concerned with the question of how his own experience of a pandemic changed his view of the historical material. The focus here is less on analysis than on “collecting impressions” that have resulted from the new framing.

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Pandemics & Protectionism

Nina Boberg-Fazlic, Markus Lampe, Maja Uhre Pedersen, Paul Sharp: Pandemics and Protectionism: Evidence from the “Spanish” flu, in: CAGE working paper No. 479, June 2020.

There has been much speculation about the impact of COVID-19 on recent trends towards international isolationism, but according to the authors of this article, that remains to be seen. They assume that valuable evidence can be gained from the “Spanish” flu of 1918-20.

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Economic Impact of the Black Death

Remi Jedwab, Noel D. Johnson, Mark Koyama: The Economic Impact of the Black Death, in: IIEP-WP-2020-14, August 2020.

The “Black Death” was the biggest demographic shock in European history. The authors of this paper review the origin, spread and mortality of the disease. They document that it was an plausibly exogenous shock for the European economy and trace its aggregate and local impacts in both the short and long term.

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Health Insurance & Mortality

Karen Clay, Joshua Lewis, Edson Severnini, Xiao Wang: The Value of Health Insurance during a Crisis: Effects of Medicaid Implementation on Pandemic Influenza Mortality, in: IZA Discussion Paper Series No. 13200, April 2020.

In this article, the authors examine the impact of improved access to public health insurance on infant mortality during pandemics.

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Mortality 1918/20

Niall P. A. S. Johnson, Juergen Mueller: Updating the Accounts: Global Mortality of the 1918-1920 “Spanish” Influenza Pandemic, in: Bulletin of the History of Medicine 1 (2002) 76, pp. 105-115.

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A History of Influenza

Christopher W. Potter: A history of influenza, in: Journal of Applied Microbiology 91 (2001), pp. 572-579.

In this article, the author describes the core data of past influenza epidemics and pandemics.

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Redistributive Effects

Sergi Basco, Jordi Domenech and Joan R. Roses: The Redistributive Effects of Pandemics: Evidence of the Spanish Flu, in: Economic Histroy Working Papers No. 308 (May 2020).

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Long-Run Persistence

A Note on Long-Run Persistence of Public Health Outcomes in Pandemics.

Peter Zhixian Lin und Christopher Meissner: A Note on Long-Run Persistence of Public Health Outcomes in Pandemics, in: NBER Working Paper Series, Working Paper 27119, May 2020.

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Lockdown effects

Lockdown effects and influenza pandemic: USA 1918/19

Robert J. Barro: Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions and Mortality in U.S. Cities During the Great Influenza Pandemic,1918-1919, in: NBER Working Paper Series, Working Paper 27049, April 2020.

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