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Information and Inequality in the Time of a Pandemic

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  • Allan Dizioli
  • Roberto Pinheiro

Abstract

We introduce two types of agent heterogeneity in a calibrated epidemiological search model. First, some agents cannot afford to stay home to minimize virus exposure. Our results show that poor agents bear most of the epidemic’s health costs. Furthermore, we show that when a larger share of agents fail to change their behavior during the epidemic, a deeper recession is possible. Second, agents develop symptoms heterogeneously. We show that for diseases with a higher share of asymptomatic cases, even when less lethal, health and economic outcomes are worse. Public policies such as testing, quarantining, and lockdowns are particularly beneficial in economies with larger shares of poor agents. However, lockdowns lose effectiveness when a larger share of the agents take voluntary precautions to minimize virus exposure independent of the lockdown.

Suggested Citation

  • Allan Dizioli & Roberto Pinheiro, 2020. "Information and Inequality in the Time of a Pandemic," Working Papers 20-25, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedcwq:88616
    DOI: 10.26509/frbc-wp-202025
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    As found on the RePEc Biblio, the curated bibliography for Economics:
    1. > Economics of Welfare > Health Economics > Economics of Pandemics > Specific pandemics > Covid-19 > Modelling > General Equilibrium

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    Cited by:

    1. Yoontae Hwang & Yongjae Lee & Frank J. Fabozzi, 2023. "Identifying household finance heterogeneity via deep clustering," Annals of Operations Research, Springer, vol. 325(2), pages 1255-1289, June.
    2. Brotherhood, Luiz & Kircher, Philipp & Santos, Cezar & Tertilt, Michèle, 2023. "Optimal Age-based Policies for Pandemics: An Economic Analysis of Covid-19 and Beyond," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 13295, Inter-American Development Bank.
    3. Cerqueti, Roy & Tramontana, Fabio & Ventura, Marco, 2022. "The complex interplay between COVID-19 and economic activity," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 97-107.
    4. Bargain, Olivier & Aminjonov, Ulugbek, 2021. "Poverty and COVID-19 in Africa and Latin America," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 142(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    COVID-19;

    JEL classification:

    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • E17 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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