IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Epidemics and Policy: The Dismal Trade-off


  • Francesco Flaviano Russo

    () (Università di Napoli Federico II and CSEF)


I propose a stochastic SIR-Macro model to study the effects of alternative policies to cope with an epidemic. Lockdowns that order firms to close and that discontinues social activities slow down the epidemic progression at the cost of reducing GDP and increasing debt and, on average, decrease mortality. Testing strategies that identify and isolate a large number of infected but asymptomatics decrease mortality at a lower cost, but they are effective only if thorough. The more aggressive the pathogen, and the smaller the capacity of the health system, the bigger the gains from both policies. I also find that lockdowns work best in case of bigger average family size, diffused participation to the job market and bigger average workplace size.

Suggested Citation

  • Francesco Flaviano Russo, 2020. "Epidemics and Policy: The Dismal Trade-off," CSEF Working Papers 570, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  • Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:570

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    Lockdown; Testing; Pathogen; Pandemic;

    JEL classification:

    • E1 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • H12 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Crisis Management


    Access and download statistics


    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:sef:csefwp:570. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Lia Ambrosio). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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.

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.