Pandemic History

42 posts

Effect of Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions on the Economy

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: 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 […]

The Influenza Pandemic in Japan

Masato Shizume: The Great Influenza Pandemic in Japan: Policy Responses and Socioeconomic Consequences, in: RIEB Discussion Paper Series No. 2022-27 (June 7, 2022). This paper explores the socioeconomic consequences of the 1918-1920 Great Influenza Pandemic (GIP) in Japan. First, it reviews the chronological and geographical patterns of the disease’s spread and policy responses by the government. It then employs panel analyses to test the quantitative effects of the pandemic on socioeconomic indicators such as population growth, factory employment, and capital formation. The study finds that 1) Japan was hit by the pandemic twice, once in the winter of 1918-1919 and […]

Smallpox & Stillbirths

Eric B. Schneider, Sören Edvinsson, Kota Ogasawara: Did smallpox cause stillbirths? Maternal smallpox infection, vaccination and stillbirths in Sweden, 1780-1839, in: London School of Economics. Economic History Working Papers No. 340 (May 2022). In 2009, Robert Woods argued that smallpox was an important cause of stillbirths in the past. While there is strong evidence that maternal smallpox infection could lead to fetal loss, it is not clear whether smallpox infections were a demographically important source of stillbirths. In this paper, the authors use parish-level data from the Swedish Tabellverket dataset from 1780 to 1839 to test the effect of smallpox […]

Pandemic Shock & Economic Divergence

Luis Bosshart, Jeremiah Dittmar: Pandemic shock and economic divergence: political economy before and after the black death, in: CEP (Centre for Economic Performance) Discussion Paper No. 1805 (October 2021). The authors of this study document how the Black Death activated politics and led to economic divergence within Europe. Before the pandemic, economic development was similar in Eastern and Western German cities despite greater political fragmentation in the West. The pandemic precipitated a divergence that coincided with prior differences in politics. After the pandemic, construction and manufacturing fell by 1/3 in the East relative to underlying trends and the Western path. Politics […]

How Do Pandemics End?

Max Schroeder, Spyridon Lazarakis, Rebecca Mancy, Konstantinos Angelopoulos: How Do Pandemics End? Two Decades of Recurrent Outbreak Risk Following the Main Waves, in: CESifo Working Paper Nr. 9475 (December 2021). Abstract “The risk of recurrent outbreaks following the main waves of a pandemic has been acknowledged. The authors provide evidence of the scale and duration of this outbreak risk. They compile municipal public health records and use national data to model the stochastic process of mortality rates after the main pandemic waves of two historical pandemics across multiple locations. For the 1890-91 influenza pandemic in England and Wales, as well […]

Excess Mortality in Switzerland, Sweden, and Spain

Kasper Staub et al.: Historically High Excess Mortality During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Switzerland, Sweden, and Spain, in: Annals of Internal Medicine (February 2022), M21-3824, online in: Abstract Background: Excess mortality quantifies the overall mortality impact of a pandemic. Mortality data have been accessible for many countries in recent decades, but few continuous data have been available for longer periods. Objective: To assess the historical dimension of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 for 3 countries with reliable death count data over an uninterrupted span of more than 100 years. Setting: Switzerland, Sweden, and Spain, which were militarily neutral and […]

Influenza 1918/20 & Globalization

Pierre L. Siklos: Did the great influenza of 1918-1920 trigger a reversal of the first era of globalization?, CAMA (Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis) Working Paper 95/2021 (November 2021). The author revisits the 1918-20 pandemic and asks whether it led to a reversal in the rise of trade and financial globalization that preceded it. Using annual data for 17 countries for the 1870-1928 period, a variety of tests and techniques are used to draw some robust conclusions. Overall, the pandemic a century ago interrupted, but did not put an end, to the first globalization of the 20th century. However, two […]

Indigenous Resilience

Alberto Diaz-Cayeros, Juan Espinosa-Balbuena, Saumitra Jha: Pandemic Spikes and Broken Spears: Indigenous Resilience after the Conquest of Mexico, August 9, 2021. It is well-established that the Conquest of the Americas by Europeans led to catastrophic declines in indigenous populations. However, less is known about the conditions under which indigenous communities were able to overcome the onslaught of disease and violence that they faced. Drawing upon a rich set of sources, including Aztec tribute rolls and early Conquest censuses, we develop a new disaggregated dataset on the pre-Conquest economic, epidemiological and political conditions both in 11,888 potential settlement locations in the […]

Mortality Shocks

Nicole El Karoui, Kaouther Hadji, Sarah Kaakai: Simulating long-term impacts of mortality shocks: learning from the cholera pandemic, November 16, 2021. The aim of this paper is to study the long-term consequence on longevity of a mortality shock. The authors adopt an historical and modeling approach to study how the population evolution following a mortality shock such as the COVID-19 pandemic could impact future mortality rates.

Vaccination Library

Phillipp Osten: Pockengift. Geschichten aus der Berliner Impfbibliothek, in: Kursbuch 206 (June 2021), p. 20-46. From the journal’s editorial: “Vaccination is hope. Vaccination is almost eschatologically charged. Will it bring us the end of the pandemic? We hope so, but admittedly we don’t know. The virus eludes us through mutation, the vaccine through ordering and production problems, and the organization of vaccination could have begun more efficiently.

The post-pandemic postwar period

Paolo Piacentini: Il Dopoguerra Post-Pandemico: I Problemi Del Prossimo Futuro Ed I Moniti Del Lontano Passato,in: ASTRIL – Associazione Studi e Ricerche Interdisciplinari sul Lavoro, Working Paper 56 (2021), ISSN 2280-6229. The prospects for the present-day ‘post-pandemic’ era are metaphorically confronted with the ‘post-war’ experience of one century ago, in the years after WWI.

Medium-term impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions

Guillaume Chapelle: The medium-term impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions.The case of the 1918 Influenza in U.S. cities, in: LIEPP Working Paper 112 (October 2020). This paper uses a difference-in-differences (DID) framework to estimate the impact of Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs) used to fight the 1918 influenza pandemic and control the resultant mortality in 43 U.S. cities.

Influenza Pandemic 1918 and Italian Fascism

Gregori Galofré–Vilà, María Gómez–León, David Stuckler: A Lesson from History? The 1918 Influenza pandemic and the rise of Italian Fascism: A cross–city 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.

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.

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”.

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.

The impact of past pandemics on economic and gender inequalities.

Michal Brzezinski: The Impact of Past Pandemics on Economic and Gender Inequalities, in: medRxiv 2021.04.28.21256239 (May 2021); doi: 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.

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.

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.

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.