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Epidemics and Policy: The Dismal Trade-off

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  • Francesco Flaviano Russo

    () (Università di Napoli Federico II and CSEF)

Abstract

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
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Teresa Barbieri & Gaetano Basso & Sergio Scicchitano, 2020. "Italian workers at risk during the COVID-19 epidemic," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 569, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    2. Facundo Piguillem & Liyan Shi, 2020. "Optimal COVID-19 Quarantine and Testing Policies," EIEF Working Papers Series 2004, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Apr 2020.
    3. Fernando E. Alvarez & David Argente & Francesco Lippi, 2020. "A Simple Planning Problem for COVID-19 Lockdown," NBER Working Papers 26981, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Krueger, Dirk & Uhlig, Harald & Xie, Taojun, 2020. "Macroeconomic Dynamics and Reallocation in an Epidemic: Evaluating the "Swedish Solution''," CEPR Discussion Papers 14607, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Goenka, Aditya & Liu, Lin & Nguyen, Manh-Hung, 2014. "Infectious diseases and economic growth," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 34-53.
    6. Assenza, Tiziana & Collard, Fabrice & Dupaigne, Martial & Fève, Patrick & Hellwig, Christian & Kankanamge, Sumudu & Werquin, Nicolas, 2020. "The Hammer and the Dance: Equilibrium and Optimal Policy during a Pandemic Crisis," CEPR Discussion Papers 14731, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Lockdown; Testing; Pathogen; Pandemic;
    All these keywords.

    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

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