London, March 27 (IANS) An epidemiologist associated with the widely cited Imperial College London study that led governements in the UK and the US ramp up their efforts to contain COVID-19 spread has denied claims that he drastically reduced the estimates originally predicted in the research.	(Xinhua/Martin Zabala/IANS) (jp)
London, March 27 (IANS) An epidemiologist associated with the widely cited Imperial College London study that led governements in the UK and the US ramp up their efforts to contain COVID-19 spread has denied claims that he drastically reduced the estimates originally predicted in the research. (Xinhua/Martin Zabala/IANS) (jp)

Economic Effects of Pandemics Last Decades, Research Shows

By Jill Ward Time of article published Mar 28, 2020

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INTERNATIONAL - The coronavirus pandemic could harm the economy for decades if past patterns are a guide, according to researchers drawing on data going back to the fourteenth century.

Looking at 12 major pandemics as well as armed conflicts, economists Oscar Jorda, Sanjay Singh and Alan Taylor at the University of California, Davis, concluded that they depress real rates, lead to small increases in real wages, and weigh on investment.

Real wages end up being slightly elevated due to labor scarcity, they said, and lower real rates will allow fiscal space for governments to mitigate the consequences.

“If the trends play out similarly in the wake of Covid-19 -- adjusted to the scale of this pandemic -- the global economic trajectory will be very different than was expected on a few weeks ago,” they wrote in a working paper. “Pandemics are followed by sustained periods -- over multiple decades -- with depressed investment opportunities.”

Shop owner Kim Anh sits next to a pole hanger of face masks for sale in Hanoi, Vietnam, Friday, March 27, 2020. Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has ordered to shut down non-essential business to curb the spread of COVID-19. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Hau Dinh)
The major caveat identified by the economists is that past pandemics occurred at a time when virtually no members of society survived to old age. “The Black Death and other plagues hit populations with the great mass of the age pyramid below 60, so this time may be different,” they said.

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