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The Short-Term Impact of SARS on the Chinese Economy


  • Wen Hai

    (China Center for Economic Research Peking University 5 Yiheyuan Road Beijing 100871 China)

  • Zhong Zhao

    (China Center for Economic Research Peking University 5 Yiheyuan Road Beijing 100871 China)

  • Jian Wang

    (China Center for Economic Research Peking University 5 Yiheyuan Road Beijing 100871 China)

  • Zhen-Gang Hou

    (China Center for Economic Research 5 Yiheyuan Road Peking University Beijing 100871 China)


During the peak of the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), we conducted a survey in Beijing on 18 April 2003 to determine the economic impact of SARS, in particular its effects on several service sectors in China. The survey indicated that SARS had significant negative impacts on China's economy. The tourism sector was hit the hardest. We estimated that by the end of 2003, China's tourism revenue from foreigners would decrease by about 50-60 percent (amounting to about US$10.8 billion) compared with the tourism revenue in 2002 and revenue from domestic tourists would decrease by around 10 percent (amounting to about US$6.0 billion). Thus, we predicted that the total loss to China's tourism industry would be around US$16.8 billion by the end of 2003. We also concluded that SARS would cause, through a multiplier effect, a total loss of US$25.3 billion to China's economy and that the growth rate of China's GDP in 2003 would be 1-2 percentage points lower than it would have been if the SARS outbreak had not occurred. Copyright (c) 2004 Center for International Development and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Wen Hai & Zhong Zhao & Jian Wang & Zhen-Gang Hou, 2004. "The Short-Term Impact of SARS on the Chinese Economy," Asian Economic Papers, MIT Press, vol. 3(1), pages 57-61.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:asiaec:v:3:y:2004:i:1:p:57-61

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    Cited by:

    1. George Verikios & Maura Sullivan & Pane Stojanovski & James Giesecke & Gordon Woo, 2016. "Assessing Regional Risks From Pandemic Influenza: A Scenario Analysis," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(8), pages 1225-1255, August.
    2. George Verikios, 2017. "The importance of periodicity in modelling infectious disease outbreaks," Discussion Papers in Economics economics:201711, Griffith University, Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics.
    3. repec:eee:touman:v:33:y:2012:i:2:p:397-412 is not listed on IDEAS

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