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.
Disentangling Covid-19, Economic Mobility, and Containment Policy Shocks
IWH Discussion Papers,
We study the dynamic impact of Covid-19, economic mobility, and containment policy shocks. We use Bayesian panel structural vector autoregressions with daily data for 44 countries, identified through sign and zero restrictions. Incidence and mobility shocks raise cases and deaths significantly for two months. Restrictive policy shocks lower mobility immediately, cases after one week, and deaths after three weeks. Non-pharmaceutical interventions explain half of the variation in mobility, cases, and deaths worldwide. These flattened the pandemic curve, while deepening the global mobility recession. The policy tradeoff is 1 p.p. less mobility per day for 9% fewer deaths after two months.
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.
Corona The pandemic has posed unprecedented challenges to society and the economy. What is...
16.06.2020 • 9/2020
The economy adapts to the pandemic
In the first half of 2020, the pandemic has exacted a heavy toll on the German economy, causing a slump in production that will not be fully recovered within the next year. According to IWH summer economic forecast, gross domestic product is expected to contract by 5.1% in 2020 and to increase by 3.2% in 2021. The decline in production in Eastern Germany is likely to be less pronounced compared to Germany as a whole and estimated at 3.2% in 2020.
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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.
12.03.2020 • 4/2020
Global economy under the spell of the coronavirus epidemic
The epidemic is obstructing the economic recovery in Germany. Foreign demand is falling, private households forgo domestic consumption if it comes with infection risk, and investments are postponed. Assuming that the spread of the disease can be contained in short time, GDP growth in 2020 is expected to be 0.6% according to IWH spring economic forecast. Growth in East Germany is expected to be 0.9% and thus higher than in West Germany. If the number of new infections cannot be decreased in short time, we expect a recession in Germany.
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