IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/kap/enreec/v76y2020i4d10.1007_s10640-020-00466-5.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Cross-Country Comparisons of Covid-19: Policy, Politics and the Price of Life

Author

Listed:
  • Ben Balmford

    (University of Exeter Business School)

  • James D. Annan

    (Blue Skies Research, Ltd)

  • Julia C. Hargreaves

    (Blue Skies Research, Ltd)

  • Marina Altoè

    (Innovation, Impact and Business, University of Exeter)

  • Ian J. Bateman

    (University of Exeter Business School)

Abstract

Coronavirus has claimed the lives of over half a million people world-wide and this death toll continues to rise rapidly each day. In the absence of a vaccine, non-clinical preventative measures have been implemented as the principal means of limiting deaths. However, these measures have caused unprecedented disruption to daily lives and economic activity. Given this developing crisis, the potential for a second wave of infections and the near certainty of future pandemics, lessons need to be rapidly gleaned from the available data. We address the challenges of cross-country comparisons by allowing for differences in reporting and variation in underlying socio-economic conditions between countries. Our analyses show that, to date, differences in policy interventions have out-weighed socio-economic variation in explaining the range of death rates observed in the data. Our epidemiological models show that across 8 countries a further week long delay in imposing lockdown would likely have cost more than half a million lives. Furthermore, those countries which acted more promptly saved substantially more lives than those that delayed. Linking decisions over the timing of lockdown and consequent deaths to economic data, we reveal the costs that national governments were implicitly prepared to pay to protect their citizens as reflected in the economic activity foregone to save lives. These ‘price of life’ estimates vary enormously between countries, ranging from as low as around $100,000 (e.g. the UK, US and Italy) to in excess of $1million (e.g. Denmark, Germany, New Zealand and Korea). The lowest estimates are further reduced once we correct for under-reporting of Covid-19 deaths.

Suggested Citation

  • Ben Balmford & James D. Annan & Julia C. Hargreaves & Marina Altoè & Ian J. Bateman, 2020. "Cross-Country Comparisons of Covid-19: Policy, Politics and the Price of Life," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 76(4), pages 525-551, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:76:y:2020:i:4:d:10.1007_s10640-020-00466-5
    DOI: 10.1007/s10640-020-00466-5
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s10640-020-00466-5
    File Function: Abstract
    Download Restriction: Access to the full text of the articles in this series is restricted.

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1007/s10640-020-00466-5?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jorge Alé-Chilet & Juan Pablo Atal & Patricio Domínguez, 2020. "Activity and the incidence of emergencies: Evidence from daily data at the onset of a pandemic," PIER Working Paper Archive 20-016, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
    2. Phenyo E. Lekone & Bärbel F. Finkenstädt, 2006. "Statistical Inference in a Stochastic Epidemic SEIR Model with Control Intervention: Ebola as a Case Study," Biometrics, The International Biometric Society, vol. 62(4), pages 1170-1177, December.
    3. Hensvik, Lena & Le Barbanchon, Thomas & Rathelot, Roland, 2020. "Which jobs are done from home? Evidence from the American Time Use Survey?," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1261, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    4. Parviez Hosseini & Susanne H Sokolow & Kurt J Vandegrift & A Marm Kilpatrick & Peter Daszak, 2010. "Predictive Power of Air Travel and Socio-Economic Data for Early Pandemic Spread," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 5(9), pages 1-8, September.
    5. Hilary Hoynes & Douglas L. Miller & Jessamyn Schaller, 2012. "Who Suffers during Recessions?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(3), pages 27-48, Summer.
    6. Hanspal, Tobin & Weber, Annika & Wohlfart, Johannes, 2020. "Exposure to the COVID-19 stock market crash and its effect on household expectations," SAFE Working Paper Series 279, Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE.
    7. Tobin Hanspal & Annika Weber & Johannes Wohlfart, 2020. "Exposure to the Covid-19 Stock Market Crash and its Effect on Household Expectations," CESifo Working Paper Series 8244, CESifo.
    8. Anna Alberini, 2005. "What Is a Life Worth? Robustness of VSL Values from Contingent Valuation Surveys," Risk Analysis, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 25(4), pages 783-800, August.
    9. Tobin Hanspal & Annika Weber & Johannes Wohlfart, 2020. "Exposure to the COVID-19 Stock Market Crash and its Effect on Household Expectations," CEBI working paper series 20-13, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. The Center for Economic Behavior and Inequality (CEBI).
    10. Michael Greenstone & Vishan Nigam, 2020. "Does Social Distancing Matter?," Working Papers 2020-26, Becker Friedman Institute for Research In Economics.
    11. Thunström, Linda & Newbold, Stephen C. & Finnoff, David & Ashworth, Madison & Shogren, Jason F., 2020. "The Benefits and Costs of Using Social Distancing to Flatten the Curve for COVID-19," Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(2), pages 179-195, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Thomas Gries & Paul J. J. Welfens, 2021. "Testing as an approach to control the Corona epidemic dynamics and avoid lockdowns," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 1-24, February.
    2. Rolando Fuentes & Marzio Galeotti & Alessandro Lanza & Baltasar Manzano, 2020. "COVID-19 and Climate Change: A Tale of Two Global Problems," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(20), pages 1-14, October.
    3. Stefania Kerekes & Ariadna Georgiana-Eugenia Badea & Dragos Paun, 2021. "Analyzing Lockdown Policies and Their Effectiveness in Romania and Hungary," Challenges, MDPI, vol. 12(2), pages 1-8, August.
    4. Liqing Li & Dede Long & Mani Rouhi Rad & Matthew R Sloggy, 2021. "Stay-at-home orders and the willingness to stay home during the COVID-19 pandemic: A stated-preference discrete choice experiment," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 16(7), pages 1-20, July.
    5. Pongou, Roland & Tchuente, Guy & Tondji, Jean-Baptiste, 2021. "Optimally Targeting Interventions in Networks during a Pandemic: Theory and Evidence from the Networks of Nursing Homes in the United States," GLO Discussion Paper Series 957, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    6. Paul Brandily & Clément Brébion & Simon Briole & Laura Khoury, 2021. "A Poorly Understood Disease? The Evolution of the Income Gradient in Excess Mortality Due to COVID-19 within Urban Areas," Working Papers halshs-03154551, HAL.
    7. David Cook & Lára Jóhannsdóttir, 2021. "Impacts, Systemic Risk and National Response Measures Concerning COVID-19—The Island Case Studies of Iceland and Greenland," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(15), pages 1-17, July.
    8. Roland Pongou & Guy Tchuente & Jean-Baptiste Tondji, 2021. "Optimally Targeting Interventions in Networks during a Pandemic: Theory and Evidence from the Networks of Nursing Homes in the United States," Papers 2110.10230, arXiv.org.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Heyden, Kim J. & Heyden, Thomas, 2021. "Market reactions to the arrival and containment of COVID-19: An event study," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 38(C).
    2. Hai-Anh H. Dang & Long T. Giang & Minh N. N. Do, 2021. "Building on Vietnam’s Recent COVID-19 Success: A Job-Focused Analysis of Individual Assessments on Their Finance and the Economy," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(19), pages 1-21, September.
    3. Abigail Hurwitz & Olivia S. Mitchell & Orly Sade, 2021. "Longevity Perceptions and Saving Decisions during the COVID-19 Outbreak: An Experimental Investigation," AEA Papers and Proceedings, American Economic Association, vol. 111, pages 297-301, May.
    4. Ingar Haaland & Christopher Roth & Johannes Wohlfart, 2020. "Designing Information Provision Experiments," CEBI working paper series 20-20, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. The Center for Economic Behavior and Inequality (CEBI).
    5. Akos Horvath & Benjamin S. Kay & Carlo Wix, 2021. "The COVID-19 Shock and Consumer Credit: Evidence from Credit Card Data," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2021-008, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    6. Hackethal, Andreas & Weber, Annika, 2020. "Fiscal policies and household consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic: A review of early evidence," SAFE White Paper Series 76, Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE.
    7. Ravi Kashyap, 2021. "Behavioral Bias Benefits: Beating Benchmarks By Bundling Bouncy Baskets," Papers 2109.03740, arXiv.org.
    8. Ravi Kashyap, 2021. "Behavioural Bias Benefits: Beating Benchmarks By Bundling Bouncy Baskets," Accounting and Finance, Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 61(3), pages 4885-4921, September.
    9. James K. Hammitt, 2020. "Valuing mortality risk in the time of COVID-19," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 61(2), pages 129-154, October.
    10. Augeraud-Véron, Emmanuelle & Fabbri, Giorgio & Schubert, Katheline, 2021. "Prevention and mitigation of epidemics: Biodiversity conservation and confinement policies," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(C).
    11. Nicolò Gatti & Beatrice Retali, 2021. "Fighting the spread of Covid-19 : was the Swiss lockdown worth it?," IdEP Economic Papers 2101, USI Università della Svizzera italiana.
    12. Nicolò Gatti & Beatrice Retali, 2021. "Saving lives during the COVID-19 pandemic: the benefits of the first Swiss lockdown," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics, Springer;Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics, vol. 157(1), pages 1-21, December.
    13. Thomas J. Kniesner & Ryan Sullivan, 2020. "The forgotten numbers: A closer look at COVID-19 non-fatal valuations," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 61(2), pages 155-176, October.
    14. Marco Pagano & Christian Wagner & Josef Zechner, 2020. "Disaster Resilience and Asset Prices," Papers 2005.08929, arXiv.org, revised May 2020.
    15. Lea-Rachel Kosnik & Allen Bellas, 2020. "Drivers of COVID-19 Stay at Home Orders: Epidemiologic, Economic, or Political Concerns?," Economics of Disasters and Climate Change, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 503-514, October.
    16. Augeraud-Véron, Emmanuelle & Fabbri, Giorgio & Schubert, Katheline, 2021. "Prevention and mitigation of epidemics: Biodiversity conservation and confinement policies," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(C).
    17. Meral Kagitci, 2020. "The impact of COVID – 19 on the stocks’ yield from the pharmaceutical sector," Journal of Financial Studies, Institute of Financial Studies, vol. 9(5), pages 58-71, November.
    18. Ashraf, Badar Nadeem, 2020. "Economic impact of government interventions during the COVID-19 pandemic: International evidence from financial markets," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(C).
    19. W. Kip Viscusi, 2020. "Pricing the global health risks of the COVID-19 pandemic," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 61(2), pages 101-128, October.
    20. Valerie Mueller & Glenn Sheriff & Corinna Keeler & Megan Jehn, 2021. "COVID‐19 Policy Modeling in Sub‐Saharan Africa," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 43(1), pages 24-38, March.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:76:y:2020:i:4:d:10.1007_s10640-020-00466-5. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: http://www.springer.com .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Sonal Shukla or Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.springer.com .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.