The Macroeconomics of Epidemics
Review of Financial Studies,
We extend the canonical epidemiology model to study the interaction between economic decisions and epidemics. Our model implies that people cut back on consumption and work to reduce the chances of being infected. These decisions reduce the severity of the epidemic but exacerbate the size of the associated recession. The competitive equilibrium is not socially optimal because infected people do not fully internalize the effect of their economic decisions on the spread of the virus. In our benchmark model, the best simple containment policy increases the severity of the recession but saves roughly half a million lives in the United States.
Epidemics in the Neoclassical and New Keynesian Models
NBER Working Paper,
We analyze the effects of an epidemic in three standard macroeconomic models. We find that the neoclassical model does not rationalize the positive comovement of consumption and investment observed in recessions associated with an epidemic. Introducing monopolistic competition into the neoclassical model remedies this shortcoming even when prices are completely flexible. Finally, sticky prices lead to a larger recession but do not fundamentally alter the predictions of the monopolistic competition model.
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Integrated Assessment of Epidemic and Economic Dynamics
IWH Discussion Papers,
In this paper, a simple integrated model for the joint assessment of epidemic and economic dynamics is developed. The model can be used to discuss mitigation policies like shutdown and testing. Since epidemics cause output losses due to a reduced labor force, temporarily reducing economic activity in order to prevent future losses can be welfare enhancing. Mitigation policies help to keep the number of people requiring intensive medical care below the capacity of the health system. The optimal policy is a mixture of temporary partial shutdown and intensive testing and isolation of infectious persons for an extended period of time.