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Economic Impact of SARS: The Case of Hong Kong


  • Alan Siu

    (Associate Professor School of Economics and Finance The University of Hong Kong K. K. Leung Building Room 1021 Pokfulam Road Hong Kong, SAR, China)

  • Y. C. Richard Wong

    (Professor of Economics and Dean Faculty of Business and Economics The University of Hong Kong Meng Wah Complex, 7/F Pokfulam Road Hong Kong, SAR, China)


SARS is the first deadly infectious disease of the 21st century. It started in the Chinese province of Guangdong in November 2002, and by August 2003, it had spread to 29 countries and 3 regions, with a cumulative total of 8,422 cases and 916 deaths. This paper describes the spread of the disease in Hong Kong and discusses its impact on the economy. SARS was an unexpected negative shock. The most significant negative effects were on the demand side, with local consumption and the export of services related to tourism and air travel severely affected in the short run. The economy did not experience a supply shock, as the manufacturing base in the Pearl River Delta was unaffected, and goods continued to be exported through Hong Kong normally. Initial alarmist reports and estimates about the negative economic impacts were not borne out. Fear and panic subsided quickly once the outbreak was under control, and the economy rebounded rapidly. Copyright (c) 2004 Center for International Development and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan Siu & Y. C. Richard Wong, 2004. "Economic Impact of SARS: The Case of Hong Kong," Asian Economic Papers, MIT Press, vol. 3(1), pages 62-83.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:asiaec:v:3:y:2004:i:1:p:62-83

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    2. Eunae Jung & Hyungun Sung, 2017. "The Influence of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Outbreak on Online and Offline Markets for Retail Sales," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(3), pages 1-23, March.
    3. Bennett, Daniel & Chiang, Chun-Fang & Malani, Anup, 2015. "Learning during a crisis: The SARS epidemic in Taiwan," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 1-18.
    4. Tsui, Wai Hong Kan & Fung, Michael Ka Yiu, 2016. "Analysing passenger network changes: The case of Hong Kong," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 1-11.
    5. Kan Tsui, Wai Hong & Balli, Hatice Ozer & Gilbey, Andrew & Gow, Hamish, 2014. "Operational efficiency of Asia–Pacific airports," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 16-24.
    6. Keith Meyers & Melissa A. Thomasson, 2017. "Paralyzed by Panic: Measuring the Effect of School Closures during the 1916 Polio Pandemic on Educational Attainment," NBER Working Papers 23890, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. repec:spr:masfgc:v:23:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s11027-017-9741-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Keng-Hoong Ng & Kok-Chin Khor, 2017. "StockProF: a stock profiling framework using data mining approaches," Information Systems and e-Business Management, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 139-158, February.

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