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Pandemic Lockdown: The Role of Government Commitment

Author

Listed:
  • Christian Moser

    (Columbia University)

  • Pierre Yared

    (Columbia University)

Abstract

This paper studies lockdown policy in a dynamic economy without government commitment. Lockdown imposes a cap on labor supply, which improves health prospects at the cost of economic output and consumption. A government would like to commit to the extent of future lockdowns in order to guarantee an economic outlook that supports efficient levels of investment into intermediate inputs. However, such a commitment is not credible, since investments are sunk at the time when the government chooses a lockdown. As a result, lockdown under lack of commitment deviates from the optimal policy. Rules that limit a government's lockdown discretion can improve social welfare, even in the presence of noncontractible information. Quantitatively, lack of commitment causes lockdown to be significantly more severe than is socially optimal. The output and consumption loss due to lack of commitment is greater for higher intermediate input shares, higher discount rates, higher values of life, higher disease transmission rates at and outside of work, and longer vaccine arrival times. (Copyright: Elsevier)

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Moser & Pierre Yared, 2022. "Pandemic Lockdown: The Role of Government Commitment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 46, pages 27-50, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:issued:20-442
    DOI: 10.1016/j.red.2021.08.001
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    2. V. V. Chari & Rishabh Kirpalani & Christopher Phelan, 2021. "The Hammer and the Scalpel: On the Economics of Indiscriminate versus Targeted Isolation Policies during Pandemics," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 42, pages 1-14, October.
    3. Chrys Esseau-Thomas & Omar Galarraga & Sherif Khalifa, 2022. "Epidemics, pandemics and income inequality," Health Economics Review, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 1-15, December.
    4. Guido Ascari & Andrea Colciago & Riccardo Silvestrini, 2021. "Business Dynamism, Sectoral Reallocation and Productivity in a Pandemic," Working Papers 482, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Sep 2021.
    5. Laura Alfaro & Ester Faia & Nora Lamersdorf & Farzad Saidi, 2020. "Social Interactions in Pandemics: Fear, Altruism, and Reciprocity," NBER Working Papers 27134, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Fushi Wang & Weiwei Qiao & Fei Wang & Liuyan Meng, 2022. "Analysis of Online Consultations and Emergent Treatments of Operative Dentistry and Endodontics during the COVID-19 Epidemic," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 19(4), pages 1-9, February.
    7. Martin Forster & Emanuela Randon, 2020. "Epidemic policy under uncertainty and information," Discussion Papers 20/05, Department of Economics, University of York.
    8. Shin-ichi Fukuda, 2022. "Self-fulfilling Lockdowns in a Simple SIR-Macro Model," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-1183, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
    9. Facundo Piguillem & Liyan Shi, 2020. "Optimal COVID-19 Quarantine and Testing Policies," EIEF Working Papers Series 2004, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Apr 2020.
    10. Bayer, Christian & Born, Benjamin & Luetticke, Ralph & Müller, Gernot, 2020. "The Coronavirus Stimulus Package: How large is the transfer multiplier?," CEPR Discussion Papers 14600, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Giorgio Fabbri & Salvatore Federico & Davide Fiaschi & Fausto Gozzi, 2021. "Mobilty Decisions, Economic Dynamics and Epidemic," LIDAM Discussion Papers IRES 2021017, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    12. Greg Kaplan & Benjamin Moll & Giovanni L. Violante, 2020. "The Great Lockdown and the Big Stimulus: Tracing the Pandemic Possibility Frontier for the U.S," NBER Working Papers 27794, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. David Baqaee & Emmanuel Farhi & Michael J. Mina & James H. Stock, 2020. "Reopening Scenarios," NBER Working Papers 27244, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Cardani, Roberta & Croitorov, Olga & Giovannini, Massimo & Pfeiffer, Philipp & Ratto, Marco & Vogel, Lukas, 2022. "The euro area’s pandemic recession: A DSGE-based interpretation," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 143(C).
    15. Acedański, Jan, 2021. "Optimal lockdown policy during the election period," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 102-117.
    16. Christopher Cotton & Bahman Kashi & Huw Lloyd‐Ellis & Frederic Tremblay & Brett Crowley, 2022. "Quantifying the economic impacts of COVID‐19 policy responses on Canada's provinces in (almost) real time," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 55(S1), pages 406-445, February.
    17. Laura Alfaro & Ester Faia & Nora Lamersdorf & Farzad Saidi, 2021. "Social Interactions in a Pandemic," ECONtribute Discussion Papers Series 110, University of Bonn and University of Cologne, Germany.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Coronavirus; COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; SIRD Model; Optimal Policy; Pandemic Restrictions; Lockdown; Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions; Rules; Commitment; Flexibility;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
    • H12 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Crisis Management
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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