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EconoFact on the Covid-19 Pandemic

Summary:
EconoFact has been providing insights into the current health/economic crisis. Here is a compendium: Tracking the Pandemic’s Trajectory: COVID-19 Cases vs. Deaths in the U.S. By Hoyt Bleakley·March 26, 2020 Policy Responses: Megan Greene and I point out in Policy Responses to the Economic Consequences of the Coronavirus The precipitous nature this crisis demands an immediate response. The tension between rapid economic recovery and public health. The economic pain will be very unevenly shared. Mortality rates for whom? We know the elderly are more at risk.  Who else faces an elevated risk of death? Phil Levine and Robin McKnight (Wellesley) draw lessons from the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic in Lessons from the 1918 Flu Pandemic: The poor suffer higher mortality than those who are better

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EconoFact has been providing insights into the current health/economic crisis. Here is a compendium:

  • Mortality rates for whom? We know the elderly are more at risk.  Who else faces an elevated risk of death? Phil Levine and Robin McKnight (Wellesley) draw lessons from the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic in Lessons from the 1918 Flu Pandemic:
    • The poor suffer higher mortality than those who are better off.
    • Those living in areas with worse air pollution face a higher risk of death.
    • The scope and speed of policy responses affects mortality rates.
  • Unemployment Insurance (UI) is important, but will this crisis shred the safety net?  Patricia Anderson (Dartmouth) and Phil Levine argue that UI is a vital policy at this time and they discuss fixes needed to UI to address the coronavirus economic fallout. They point out that more funding is required and modifications of the plan are needed.  They advocate raising the fraction of income that UI replaces and raising the maximum benefit.
  • The end of crises Dan Sichel posted a memo on how the acute phases of economic crises end.  He points out that history suggests two ingredients are needed to stanch the acute phase of an economic crisis; a resolution of the underlying cause and a dramatic economic policy response that mitigates the economic damage and causes a shift in sentiment.
Menzie Chinn
He is Professor of Public Affairs and Economics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison

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