IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/qmw/qmwecw/902.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Inequality of Fear and Self-Quarantine: Is There a Trade-off between GDP and Public Health?

Author

Listed:
  • Sangmin Aum

    (Myongji University)

  • Sang Yoon (Tim) Lee

    (Queen Mary University of London and CEPR)

  • Yongseok Shin

    (Washington University in St. Louis and Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis)

Abstract

We construct a quantitative model of an economy hit by an epidemic. People differby age and skill, and choose occupations and whether to commute to work or work from home, to maximise their income and minimize their fear of infection. Occupations differ by wage, infection risk, and the productivity loss when working from home. By setting the model parameters to replicate the progression of COVID-19 in South Korea and the United Kingdom, we obtain three key results. First, government-imposed lock-downs may not present a clear trade-off between GDP and public health, as commonly believed, even though its immediate effect is to reduce GDP and infections by forcing people to work from home. A premature lifting of the lock-down raises GDP temporarily, but infections rise over the next months to a level at which many people choose to work from home, where they are less productive, driven by the fear of infection. A longer lock-down eventually mitigates the GDP loss as well as flattens the infection curve. Second, if the UK had adopted South Korean policies, its GDP loss and infections would have been substantially smaller both in the short and the long run. This is not because Korea implemented policies sooner, but because aggressive testing and tracking more effectively reduce infections and disrupt the economy less than a blanket lock-down. Finally, low-skill workers and self-employed lose the most from the epidemic and also from the government policies. However, the policy of issuing "visas" to those who have antibodies will disproportionately benefit the low-skilled, by relieving them of the fear of infection and also by allowing them to get back to work.

Suggested Citation

  • Sangmin Aum & Sang Yoon (Tim) Lee & Yongseok Shin, 2020. "Inequality of Fear and Self-Quarantine: Is There a Trade-off between GDP and Public Health?," Working Papers 902, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:qmw:qmwecw:902
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.qmul.ac.uk/sef/media/econ/research/workingpapers/2020/WP902Lee.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Adam Sheridan & Asger Lau Andersen & Emil Toft Hansen & Niels Johannesen, 2020. "Social distancing laws cause only small losses of economic activity during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scandinavia," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 117(34), pages 20468-20473, August.
    2. Dirk Krueger & Harald Uhlig & Taojun Xie, 2022. "Macroeconomic dynamics and reallocation in an epidemic: evaluating the ‘Swedish solution’," Economic Policy, CEPR, CESifo, Sciences Po;CES;MSH, vol. 37(110), pages 341-398.
    3. Dirk Kruger & Harald Uhlig & Taojun Xie, 2020. "Macroeconomic Dynamics and Reallocation in an Epidemic," Working Papers 2020-43, Becker Friedman Institute for Research In Economics.
    4. Martin S Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo & Mathias Trabandt, 2021. "The Macroeconomics of Epidemics [Economic activity and the spread of viral diseases: Evidence from high frequency data]," The Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 34(11), pages 5149-5187.
    5. Sangmin Aum & Sang Yoon (Tim) Lee & Yongseok Shin, 2022. "Who Should Work from Home During a Pandemic? The Wage-Infection Trade-off," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, vol. 104(2), pages 92-109.
    6. Alexander Chudik & M. Hashem Pesaran & Alessandro Rebucci, 2020. "Voluntary and Mandatory Social Distancing: Evidence on COVID-19 Exposure Rates from Chinese Provinces and Selected Countries," Globalization Institute Working Papers 382, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    7. Aum, Sangmin & Lee, Sang Yoon (Tim) & Shin, Yongseok, 2021. "Inequality of fear and self-quarantine: Is there a trade-off between GDP and public health?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 194(C).
    8. Facundo Piguillem & Liyan Shi, 2022. "Optimal Covid-19 Quarantine and Testing Policies," The Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 132(647), pages 2534-2562.
    9. Aum, Sangmin & Lee, Sang Yoon (Tim) & Shin, Yongseok, 2021. "COVID-19 doesn’t need lockdowns to destroy jobs: The effect of local outbreaks in Korea," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(C).
    10. Farboodi, Maryam & Jarosch, Gregor & Shimer, Robert, 2021. "Internal and external effects of social distancing in a pandemic," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 196(C).
    11. Garriga, Carlos & Manuelli, Rody & Sanghi, Siddhartha, 2022. "Optimal management of an epidemic: Lockdown, vaccine and value of life," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 140(C).
    12. Palomino, Juan C. & Rodríguez, Juan G. & Sebastian, Raquel, 2020. "Wage inequality and poverty effects of lockdown and social distancing in Europe," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 129(C).
    13. Fernando Alvarez & David Argente, 2020. "A Simple Planning Problem for COVID-19 Lockdown," Working Papers 2020-34, Becker Friedman Institute for Research In Economics.
    14. Simon Mongey & Laura Pilossoph & Alex Weinberg, 2020. "Which Workers Bear the Burden of Social Distancing Policies?," Working Papers 2020-51, Becker Friedman Institute for Research In Economics.
    15. Simon Mongey & Laura Pilossoph & Alexander Weinberg, 2021. "Which workers bear the burden of social distancing?," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 19(3), pages 509-526, September.
    16. Dingel, Jonathan I. & Neiman, Brent, 2020. "How many jobs can be done at home?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 189(C).
    17. Lee, Tim & Shin, Yongseok, 2017. "Horizonatal and Vertical Polarization: Task-Specific Technological Change in a Multi-Sector Economy," TSE Working Papers 17-800, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Dizioli, Allan & Pinheiro, Roberto, 2021. "Information and inequality in the time of a pandemic," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 130(C).
    2. Garriga, Carlos & Manuelli, Rody & Sanghi, Siddhartha, 2022. "Optimal management of an epidemic: Lockdown, vaccine and value of life," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 140(C).
    3. Sewon Hur, 2023. "The Distributional Effects Of Covid‐19 And Optimal Mitigation Policies," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 64(1), pages 261-294, February.
    4. Satoshi Tanaka, 2022. "Economic Impacts of SARS/MERS/COVID‐19 in Asian Countries," Asian Economic Policy Review, Japan Center for Economic Research, vol. 17(1), pages 41-61, January.
    5. Marina Azzimonti-Renzo & Alessandra Fogli & Fabrizio Perri & Mark Ponder, 2020. "Pandemic Control in ECON-EPI Networks," Staff Report 609, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    6. David Baqaee & Emmanuel Farhi & Michael J. Mina & James H. Stock, 2020. "Reopening Scenarios," NBER Working Papers 27244, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Etienne Farvaque & Hira Iqbal & Nicolas Ooghe, 2020. "Health politics? Determinants of US states’ reactions to COVID-19," Post-Print hal-03128875, HAL.
    8. David Baqaee & Emmanuel Farhi, 2020. "Nonlinear Production Networks with an Application to the Covid-19 Crisis," NBER Working Papers 27281, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Timo Boppart & Karl Harmenberg & John Hassler & Per Krusell & Jonna Olsson, 2020. "Integrated Epi-Econ Assessment," NBER Working Papers 28282, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. David E. Bloom & Michael Kuhn & Klaus Prettner, 2022. "Modern Infectious Diseases: Macroeconomic Impacts and Policy Responses," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 60(1), pages 85-131, March.
    11. David Baqaee & Emmanuel Farhi, 2022. "Supply and Demand in Disaggregated Keynesian Economies with an Application to the COVID-19 Crisis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 112(5), pages 1397-1436, May.
    12. Abel Brodeur & David Gray & Anik Islam & Suraiya Bhuiyan, 2021. "A literature review of the economics of COVID‐19," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(4), pages 1007-1044, September.
    13. Greg Kaplan & Benjamin Moll & Giovanni L. Violante, 2020. "The Great Lockdown and the Big Stimulus: Tracing the Pandemic Possibility Frontier for the U.S," NBER Working Papers 27794, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Sangmin Aum & Sang Yoon (Tim) Lee & Yongseok Shin, 2022. "Who Should Work from Home During a Pandemic? The Wage-Infection Trade-off," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, vol. 104(2), pages 92-109.
    15. Christian Moser & Pierre Yared, 2022. "Pandemic Lockdown: The Role of Government Commitment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 46, pages 27-50, October.
    16. Çakmaklı, Cem & Demiralp, Selva & Özcan, Şebnem Kalemli & Yeşiltaş, Sevcan & Yıldırım, Muhammed A., 2023. "COVID-19 and emerging markets: A SIR model, demand shocks and capital flows," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 145(C).
    17. Anna Houstecka & Dongya Koh & Raül Santaeulàlia-Llopis, 2020. "Contagion at Work," Working Papers 1225, Barcelona School of Economics.
    18. Hevia, Constantino & Macera, Manuel & Neumeyer, Pablo Andrés, 2022. "Covid-19 in unequal societies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 140(C).
    19. Yasushi Iwamoto, 2021. "Welfare economics of managing an epidemic: an exposition," The Japanese Economic Review, Springer, vol. 72(4), pages 537-579, October.
    20. Shin-ichi Fukuda, 2022. "Self-fulfilling Lockdowns in a Simple SIR-Macro Model," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-1183, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Covid-19; SIR model; quarantine; antibody test; occupations and sectors; economic inequality;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:qmw:qmwecw:902. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Nicholas Owen (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/deqmwuk.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.