Epidemics in the New Keynesian Model
This paper documents the behavior of key macro aggregates in the wake of the Covid epidemic. We show that a unique feature of the Covid recession is that the peak-to-trough decline is roughly the same for consumption, investment, and output. In contrast to the 2008 recession, there was only a short-lived rise in financial stress that quickly subsided. Finally, there was mild deflation between the peak and the trough of the Covid recession. We argue that a New Keynesian model that explicitly incorporates epidemic dynamics captures these qualitative features of the Covid recession. A key feature of the model is that Covid acts like a negative shock to the demand for consumption and the supply of labor.