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Awareness of pandemics and the impact of COVID-19


  • Buesa, Alejandro
  • Pérez, Javier J.
  • Santabárbara, Daniel


Awareness about the occurrence of viral infectious (or other) tail risks can influence their socioeconomic inter-temporal impacts. In this regard, a branch of the literature finds that personal experiences with significant shocks can have long-lasting effects on risk-taking attitudes and the perceived probability about the occurrence of extreme, negative shocks. In this paper, we proxy the level of societal experience (awareness) in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak by past exposure of a country to epidemics, and other catastrophic events. We show that in a large cross-section of more than 150 countries, more aware societies suffered a less intense impact of the COVID-19 disease, in terms of loss of lives and, to some extent, economic damage.

Suggested Citation

  • Buesa, Alejandro & Pérez, Javier J. & Santabárbara, Daniel, 2021. "Awareness of pandemics and the impact of COVID-19," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 204(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:204:y:2021:i:c:s0165176521001695
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econlet.2021.109892

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Asadullah, M. Niaz & Tham, Eric, 2023. "Learning and happiness during Covid-19 school closure in urban Malaysia," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 101(C).
    2. Sugata Marjit & Gouranga Gopal Das, 2021. "Contact-Intensity, Collapsing Entertainment Sector and Wage Inequality: A Finite Change Model of Covid-19 Impact," CESifo Working Paper Series 9311, CESifo.

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    More about this item


    Socioeconomic impact of pandemics; Global health crises;

    JEL classification:

    • E43 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics
    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • N40 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - General, International, or Comparative


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