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The Economic Implications of Epidemics Old and New

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  • Clive Bell
  • Maureen Lewis

Abstract

The outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in the winter of 2002–03 raised the specter of a new, unknown and uncontrollable infectious disease that spreads quickly and is often fatal. Certain branches of economic activity, notably tourism, felt its impact almost at once, and investor expectations of a safe and controlled investment climate were brought into question. Part of the shock of SARS was the abrupt reversal of a mounting legacy of disease control that had altered societies’ expectations from coping with waves of epidemics of smallpox, cholera, and measles, among other diseases, to complacency with the virtual elimination of disease epidemics. This paper analyzes the economic implications of the Great Plague in the fourteenth century, the 1918–19 influenza epidemic, the HIV/AIDS curse and SARS to demonstrate the short- and long-term effects of different kinds of epidemics. The magnitude and nature of economic effects vary according to the duration and characteristics of the

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE in its journal World Economics Journal.

Volume (Year): 5 (2004)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 137-174

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Handle: RePEc:wej:wldecn:195

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Cited by:
  1. Lars Jonung & Werner Roeger, 2006. "The macroeconomic effects of a pandemic in Europe - A model-based assessment," European Economy - Economic Papers 251, Directorate General Economic and Monetary Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  2. Jack, William & Lewis, Maureen, 2009. "Health investments and economic growth : macroeconomic evidence and microeconomic foundations," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4877, The World Bank.
  3. Bernard Walters, 2007. "The Fiscal Implications of Scaling up ODA to Deal with the HIV/AIDS Pandemic," Conference Paper 3, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.
  4. Clive Bell & Carsten Fink, 2005. "Aide et santé," Revue d’économie du développement, De Boeck Université, vol. 19(2), pages 135-166.
  5. World Bank, 2007. "Global Economic Prospects 2007 : Managing the Next Wave of Globalization," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7157, October.

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