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The possible macroeconomic impact on the UK of an influenza pandemic

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  • Simon Wren-Lewis
  • Marcus Keogh-Brown

Abstract

Little is known about the possible impact of an influenza pandemic on a nation's economy. We applied the UK macroeconomic model 'COMPACT' to epidemiological data on previous UK influenza pandemics, and extrapolated a sensitivity analysis to cover more extreme disease scenarios. Analysis suggests that the economic impact of a repeat of the 1957 or 1968 pandemics, allowing for school closures, would be short lived, constituting a loss of 3.35% and 0.58% of GDP in the first pandemic quarter and year respectively. A more severe scenario (with more than 1% of the population dying) could yield impacts of 21% and 4.5% respectively. The economic shockwave would be gravest when absenteeism (through school closures) increases beyond a few weeks, creating policy repercussions for influenza pandemic planning as the most severe economic impact is due to policies to contain the pandemic rather than the pandemic itself. Accounting for changes in consumption patterns made in an attempt to avoid infection worsens the potential impact. Our mild disease scenario then shows first quarter/first year reductions in GDP of 9.5%/2.5%, compared to our severe scenario reductions of 29.5%. These results clearly indicate the significance of behavioural change over disease parameters.

Suggested Citation

  • Simon Wren-Lewis & Marcus Keogh-Brown, 2009. "The possible macroeconomic impact on the UK of an influenza pandemic," Economics Series Working Papers 431, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:431
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Keogh-Brown, Marcus Richard & Smith, Richard David, 2008. "The economic impact of SARS: How does the reality match the predictions?," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 110-120, October.
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    9. Darby, Julia & Ireland, Jonathan & Leith, Campbell & Wren-Lewis, Simon, 1998. "COMPACT: a rational expectations, intertemporal model of the United Kingdom economy," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 1-52, January.
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    1. Economics, DSGE and Reality: a personal story
      by Mainly Macro in Mainly Macro on 2016-09-16 13:11:00

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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. Karlsson, Martin & Nilsson, Therese & Pichler, Stefan, 2012. "What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger? The Impact of the 1918 Spanish Flu Epidemic on Economic Performance in Sweden," Working Paper Series 911, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    3. George Verikios & Peter B. Dixon & Maureen T. Rimmer & Anthony H. Harris, 2013. "The Impact of Changes in Health Status: An Economywide Analysis for Australia," Centre of Policy Studies/IMPACT Centre Working Papers g-231, Victoria University, Centre of Policy Studies/IMPACT Centre.
    4. Richard Smith, 2008. "Globalization: the key challenge facing health economics in the 21st century," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(1), pages 1-3.
    5. Verikios, George & Dixon, Peter B. & Rimmer, Maureen T. & Harris, Anthony H., 2015. "Improving health in an advanced economy: An economywide analysis for Australia," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 250-261.
    6. 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.
    7. Fenichel, Eli P., 2013. "Economic considerations for social distancing and behavioral based policies during an epidemic," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 440-451.
    8. Joseph H. Cook, 2013. "Principles and standards for benefit–cost analysis of public health preparedness and pandemic mitigation programs," Chapters,in: Principles and Standards for Benefit–Cost Analysis, chapter 3, pages 110-152 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    9. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:4:p:1232-:d:141707 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Judith Kabajulizi, 2013. "Macroeconomic Implications Of Health Sector Reforms In Uganda: A Computable General Equilibrium Analysis," EcoMod2013 5158, EcoMod.
    11. George Verikios & James McCaw & Jodie McVernon & Anthony Harris, 2010. "H1N1 influenza in Australia and its macroeconomic effects," Centre of Policy Studies/IMPACT Centre Working Papers g-212, Victoria University, Centre of Policy Studies/IMPACT Centre.
    12. Smith, Richard D. & Keogh-Brown, Marcus R. & Barnett, Tony, 2011. "Estimating the economic impact of pandemic influenza: An application of the computable general equilibrium model to the UK," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 235-244, July.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Pandemic; Influenza; Simulation; COMPACT;

    JEL classification:

    • E17 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public 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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