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Fight the Pandemic, Save the Economy: Lessons from the 1918 Flu

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Abstract

The COVID-19 outbreak has sparked urgent questions about the impact of pandemics, and associated countermeasures, on the real economy. Policymakers are in uncharted territory, with little guidance on what the expected economic fallout will be and how the crisis should be managed. In this blog post, we use insights from a recent research paper to discuss two sets of questions. First, what are the real economic effects of a pandemic—and are these effects temporary or persistent? Second, how does the local public health response affect the economic severity of the pandemic? In particular, do non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) such as social distancing have economic costs, or do policies that slow the spread of the pandemic also reduce its economic severity?

Suggested Citation

  • , 2020. "Fight the Pandemic, Save the Economy: Lessons from the 1918 Flu," Liberty Street Economics 20200327, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fednls:87691
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. COVID-19 Economic Downturn: What do cyclical norms suggest?
      by Steve Cecchetti and Kim Schoenholtz in Money, Banking and Financial Markets on 2020-04-19 18:42:37

    More about this item

    Keywords

    non-pharmaceutical interventions; real effects; Pandemic; COVID-19;

    JEL classification:

    • E0 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • N12 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • N32 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

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