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The Value of a Cure: An Asset Pricing Perspective


  • Johnson, Timothy
  • Sundaresan, Suresh
  • Zheng, Steven


We provide an estimate of the value of a cure using the joint behavior of stock prices and a vaccine progress indicator during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Our indicator is based on the chronology of stage-by-stage progress of individual vaccines and related news. We construct a general equilibrium regime-switching model of repeated pandemics and stages of vaccine progress wherein the representative agent withdraws labor and alters consumption endogenously to mitigate health risk. The value of a cure in the resulting asset-pricing framework is intimately linked to the relative labor supply across states. The observed stock market response to vaccine progress serves to identify this quantity, allowing us to use the model to estimate the economy-wide welfare gain that would be attributable to a cure. In our estimation, and with standard preference parameters, the value of the ability to end the pandemic is worth 5-15% of total wealth. This value rises substantially when there is uncertainty about the frequency and duration of pandemics. Agents place almost as much value on the ability to resolve the uncertainty as they do on the value of the cure itself. This effect is stronger – not weaker – when agents have a preference for later resolution of uncertainty. The policy implication is that understanding the fundamental biological and social determinants of future pandemics may be as important as resolving the immediate crisis.

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  • Johnson, Timothy & Sundaresan, Suresh & Zheng, Steven, 2020. "The Value of a Cure: An Asset Pricing Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 15558, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:15558

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Fu, Yuting & Jin, Hanqing & Xiang, Haitao & Wang, Ning, 2022. "Optimal lockdown policy for vaccination during COVID-19 pandemic," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 45(C).
    2. Binzhe Wang & Matias Williams & Fábio Duarte & Siqi Zheng, 2022. "Demand for social interactions: Evidence from the restaurant industry during the COVID‐19 pandemic," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(3), pages 830-857, June.
    3. Jyotirmayee Behera & Ajit Kumar Pasayat & Harekrushna Behera, 2022. "COVID-19 Vaccination Effect on Stock Market and Death Rate in India," Asia-Pacific Financial Markets, Springer;Japanese Association of Financial Economics and Engineering, vol. 29(4), pages 651-673, December.
    4. So Kubota, 2021. "The macroeconomics of COVID-19 exit strategy: the case of Japan," The Japanese Economic Review, Springer, vol. 72(4), pages 651-682, October.
    5. Rouatbi, Wael & Demir, Ender & Kizys, Renatas & Zaremba, Adam, 2021. "Immunizing markets against the pandemic: COVID-19 vaccinations and stock volatility around the world," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 77(C).
    6. Martins, António Miguel & Cró, Susana, 2022. "Airline stock markets reaction to the COVID-19 outbreak and vaccines: An event study," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 105(C).

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    More about this item


    Pandemic; Vaccine; Covid-19; Rare disasters; Regime-switching; Parameter uncertainty;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • D5 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming


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