Assessing Targeted Containment Policies to Fight COVID-19

A new GLO Discussion Paper provides an assessment of the targeted approach to COVID-19 containment. Under a targeted policy, the optimal containment reaches a larger portion of the population than under a blanket policy. Compared to a blanket policy, a targeted approach results in a smaller death count.

The Global Labor Organization (GLO) is an independent, non-partisan and non-governmental organization that functions as an international network and virtual platform to stimulate global research, debate and collaboration.

Francesco Grigoli

GLO Discussion Paper No. 752, 2021

Assessing Targeted Containment Policies to Fight COVID-19 Download PDF
by
Checo, Ariadne & Grigoli, Francesco & Mota, Jose M.


GLO Fellow Francesco Grigoli

Author Abstract: The large economic costs of full-blown lockdowns in response to COVID-19 outbreaks, coupled with heterogeneous mortality rates across age groups, led to question non-discriminatory containment measures. In this paper we provide an assessment of the targeted approach to containment. We propose a SIR-macro model that allows for heterogeneous agents in terms of mortality rates and contact rates, and in which the government optimally bans people from working. We find that under a targeted policy, the optimal containment reaches a larger portion of the population than under a blanket policy and is held in place for longer. Compared to a blanket policy, a targeted approach results in a smaller death count. Yet, it is not a panacea: the recession is larger under such approach as the containment policy applies to a larger fraction of people, remains in place for longer, and herd immunity is achieved later. Moreover, we find that increased interactions between low- and high-risk individuals effectively reduce the benefits of a targeted approach to containment.

More from the GLO Coronavirus Cluster

GLO Discussion Papers are research and policy papers of the GLO Network which are widely circulated to encourage discussion. Provided in cooperation with EconStor, a service of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, GLO Discussion Papers are among others listed in RePEc (see IDEAS,  EconPapers)Complete list of all GLO DPs – downloadable for free.

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The COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 US presidential election: The disease has contributed to the US election outcome.

A new article published in the Journal of Population Economics suggests that Donald Trump would likely have won re-election if COVID-19 cases in the United States had been 5 percent lower.

COVID-19 brought the change
Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

The Global Labor Organization (GLO) is an independent, non-partisan and non-governmental organization that functions as an international network and virtual platform to stimulate global research, debate and collaboration.

Abel Brodeur

The COVID-19 Pandemic and the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election
by Baccini, Leonardo & Brodeur, Abel & Weymouth, Stephen
Pre-publication revised GLO DP 710 [pre.].

Published ONLINE FIRST 2021: Journal of Population Economics, Vol. 34, Issue 2/2021. FREE ACCESS to the published version including the PDF.

GLO Fellow Abel Brodeur

Author Abstract: What is the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the 2020 US presidential election? Guided by a pre-analysis plan, we estimate the effect of COVID-19 cases and deaths on the change in county-level voting for Donald Trump between 2016 and 2020. To account for potential confounders, we include a large number of COVID-19-related controls as well as demographic and socioeconomic variables. Moreover, we instrument the numbers of cases and deaths with the share of workers employed in meat-processing factories to sharpen our identification strategy. We find that COVID-19 cases negatively affected Trump’s vote share. The estimated effect appears strongest in urban counties, in states without stay-at-home orders, in swing states, and in states that Trump won in 2016. A simple counterfactual analysis suggests that Trump would likely have won re-election if COVID-19 cases had been 5 percent lower. We also find some evidence that COVID-19 incidence had a positive effect on voters’ mobilization, helping Biden win the presidency.

More from the GLO Coronavirus Cluster

GLO Discussion Papers are research and policy papers of the GLO Network which are widely circulated to encourage discussion. Provided in cooperation with EconStor, a service of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, GLO Discussion Papers are among others listed in RePEc (see IDEAS,  EconPapers)Complete list of all GLO DPs – downloadable for free.

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Socio-demographic factors associated with self-protecting behavior during the Covid-19 pandemic in the USA.

A new paper published online in the Journal of Population Economics discusses why it is so vital to understand what drives people to engage in or refrain from health-related behaviors during a pandemic and reveal the role of socioeconomic differences in explaining behavior in the USA.

The Global Labor Organization (GLO) is an independent, non-partisan and non-governmental organization that functions as an international network and virtual platform to stimulate global research, debate and collaboration.

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Socio-demographic factors associated with self-protecting behavior during the Covid-19 pandemic

by Papageorge, Nicholas W.; Zahn, Matthew V.; Belot, Michèle; van den Broek-Altenburg, Eline; Choi, Syngjoo; Jamison, Julian C. & Trpodi, Egon


Published ONLINE FIRST 2021: Journal of Population Economics, scheduled for Issue 2/2021.
FREE READLINK: https://rdcu.be/cdCjh OPEN ACCESS.

Author Abstract: Given the role of human behavior in the spread of disease, it is vital to understand what drives people to engage in or refrain from health-related behaviors during a pandemic. This paper examines factors associated with the adoption of self-protective health behaviors, such as social distancing and mask wearing, at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in the USA. These behaviors not only reduce an individual’s own risk of infection but also limit the spread of disease to others. Despite these dual benefits, universal adoption of these behaviors is not assured. We focus on the role of socioeconomic differences in explaining behavior, relying on data collected in April 2020 during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic. The data include information on income, gender and race along with unique variables relevant to the current pandemic, such as work arrangements and housing quality. We find that higher income is associated with larger changes in self-protective behaviors. These gradients are partially explained by the fact that people with less income are more likely to report circumstances that make adopting self-protective behaviors more difficult, such as an inability to tele-work. Both in the USA and elsewhere, policies that assume universal compliance with self-protective measures—or that otherwise do not account for socioeconomic differences in the costs of doing so—are unlikely to be effective or sustainable.

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Access to the recently published Volume 34, Issue 1, January 2021.

LEAD ARTICLE OF ISSUE 1, 2021:
Štěpán Jurajda & Dejan Kovač: Names and behavior in a war READLINK: https://rdcu.be/b9xkX

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Australia: Implications of COVID-19 labour market shocks for inequality in financial wellbeing.

A new paper published online in the Journal of Population Economics indicates that the negative COVID-19 labour market effects are felt the most by people in the lowest percentiles of the financial wellbeing distribution suggesting significant increases in financial wellbeing disadvantage and inequality.

The Global Labor Organization (GLO) is an independent, non-partisan and non-governmental organization that functions as an international network and virtual platform to stimulate global research, debate and collaboration.

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Implications of COVID-19 labour market shocks for inequality in financial wellbeing

by Botha, Ferdi; de New, John P.; de New, Sonja C.; Ribar, David C. & Salamanca, Nicolás


Published ONLINE FIRST 2021: Journal of Population Economics, scheduled for Issue2/2021.
FREE READLINK: https://rdcu.be/cdBX6 FREE ACCESS to PDF. Previous version GLO DP 661.

GLO Fellows John P. de New & David C. Ribar

Author Abstract: Australia’s economy abruptly entered into a recession due to the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. Related labour market shocks on Australian residents have been substantial due to business closures and social distancing restrictions. Government measures are in place to reduce flow-on effects to people’s financial situations, but the extent to which Australian residents suffering these shocks experience lower levels of financial wellbeing, including associated implications for inequality, is unknown. Using novel data we collected from 2078 Australian residents during April to July 2020, we show that experiencing a labour market shock during the pandemic is associated with a 29% lower level of perceived financial wellbeing, on average. Unconditional quantile regressions indicate that lower levels of financial wellbeing are present across the entire distribution, except at the very top. Distribution analyses indicate that the labour market shocks are also associated with higher levels of inequality in financial wellbeing. Financial counselling and support targeted at people who experience labour market shocks could help them to manage financial commitments and regain financial control during periods of economic uncertainty.

Access to the recently published Volume 34, Issue 1, January 2021.

LEAD ARTICLE OF ISSUE 1, 2021:
Štěpán Jurajda & Dejan Kovač: Names and behavior in a war READLINK: https://rdcu.be/b9xkX

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Consequences of War: Japan’s Demographic Transition and the Marriage Market.

A new GLO Discussion Paper finds that the decrease in the male to female sex ratio in World War II contributed to a lower decline in fertility and child mortality rates in postwar Japan.

The Global Labor Organization (GLO) is an independent, non-partisan and non-governmental organization that functions as an international network and virtual platform to stimulate global research, debate and collaboration.

Mizuki Komura

GLO Discussion Paper No. 750, 2021

Consequences of War: Japan’s Demographic Transition and the Marriage Market Download PDF

by
Ogasawara, Kota & Komura, Mizuki

GLO Fellow Mizuki Komura

Author Abstract: This study explores the effects of imbalances in the sex ratio, and their impact on intra-household bargaining, on both the quantity and the quality of children. We first present the theoretical model of intra-household bargaining in the presence of conflicting family goals within a couple, and show that male scarcity (a decrease in the male to female sex ratio) induces an increase in the number of children, but a decrease in the quality of children. Second, using the impact of World War II on the sex ratio, as a quasi-natural experiment, we establish empirically that the decrease in the male to female sex ratio in World War II contributed to a lower decline in fertility and child mortality rates in postwar Japan. In particular, the fertility rate would have fallen by an additional 12% and the child mortality rate by an additional 13% between 1948 and 1970, in the absence of the decrease in the sex ratio.

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GLO Discussion Papers are research and policy papers of the GLO Network which are widely circulated to encourage discussion. Provided in cooperation with EconStor, a service of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, GLO Discussion Papers are among others listed in RePEc (see IDEAS,  EconPapers)Complete list of all GLO DPs – downloadable for free.

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Identity and Labor Market Outcomes of Immigrants

A new GLO Discussion Paper finds for Italy that immigrants with stronger feelings of belonging to the societies of both the host and home country have higher employment rates, while those who exclusively identify with the host country culture do not have a net occupational advantage.

The Global Labor Organization (GLO) is an independent, non-partisan and non-governmental organization that functions as an international network and virtual platform to stimulate global research, debate and collaboration.

GLO Discussion Paper No. 749, 2021

Identity and Labor Market Outcomes of Immigrants Download PDF
by
Carillo, Maria Rosaria & Lombardo, Vincenzo & Venittelli, Tiziana

GLO Fellows Vincenzo Lombardo & Tiziana Venittelli

Author Abstract: This paper explores the relationship between social identity and labor market outcomes of immigrants. Using survey data from Italy, we provide robust evidence that immigrants with stronger feelings of belonging to the societies of both the host and home country have higher employment rates, while those who exclusively identify with the host country culture do not have a net occupational advantage. Analysis of the potential mechanisms suggests that, although simultaneous identification with host and home country groups can be costly, the positive effect of multiple social identities is especially triggered by the enlarged information transmission and in-group favoritism that identification with, and membership of, extended communities ensure.

GLO Discussion Papers are research and policy papers of the GLO Network which are widely circulated to encourage discussion. Provided in cooperation with EconStor, a service of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, GLO Discussion Papers are among others listed in RePEc (see IDEAS,  EconPapers)Complete list of all GLO DPs – downloadable for free.

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Does social participation improve cognitive abilities of the elderly? New article ONLINE FIRST with free READLINK in the Journal of Population Economics.

A new paper published online in the Journal of Population Economics finds that participating in social activities has significantly positive impacts on cognitive function among the elderly in China.

The Global Labor Organization (GLO) is an independent, non-partisan and non-governmental organization that functions as an international network and virtual platform to stimulate global research, debate and collaboration.

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Does social participation improve cognitive abilities of the elderly?

by Cai, Shu

Published ONLINE FIRST 2021: Journal of Population Economics, scheduled for 2021. FREE READLINK: https://rdcu.be/cdjPu

GLO Fellow Shu Cai

Shu Cai

Author Abstract: This paper examines the effect of social participation on cognitive performance using data from a longitudinal survey of the elderly in China. It addresses the problem of endogenous participation by exploiting the variation in changes in social participation that are driven by changes in community service for social activities. The results show that participating in social activities has significantly positive impacts on cognitive function among the elderly. The point estimates indicate that engaging in social activity raises cognitive scores by 29% of a standard deviation.

Access to the recently published Volume 34, Issue 1, January 2021.

LEAD ARTICLE OF ISSUE 1, 2021:
Štěpán Jurajda & Dejan Kovač: Names and behavior in a war READLINK: https://rdcu.be/b9xkX

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Do research universities boost regional economic development? Evidence from China

A new GLO Discussion Paper finds for China that research universities can have negative effects on local economic development.

The Global Labor Organization (GLO) is an independent, non-partisan and non-governmental organization that functions as an international network and virtual platform to stimulate global research, debate and collaboration.

Shuai Chu

GLO Discussion Paper No. 748, 2021

Do research universities boost regional economic development? – Evidence from ChinaDownload PDF
by
Chu, Shuai & Liu, Xiangbo

GLO Affiliate Shuai Chu


Author Abstract: This paper studies whether research universities can boost regional economic development through an exogenous shock of a forced relocation of a research university in China. We analyze the development in the treated regions compared with a set of control regions that are created using the synthetic control method and find that research universities can have negative effects on local economic development. We then perform a series of robustness checks. Our main results carry through. By employing a more exogenous shock and more reliable identification strategies, our study provides evidence that research universities do not necessarily promote regional economic development.

GLO Discussion Papers are research and policy papers of the GLO Network which are widely circulated to encourage discussion. Provided in cooperation with EconStor, a service of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, GLO Discussion Papers are among others listed in RePEc (see IDEAS,  EconPapers)Complete list of all GLO DPs – downloadable for free.

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Emigration and development. What are the links?

A new GLO Discussion Paper finds that policies supporting development in low-income countries are associated with less emigration to all destinations, including the rich economies.

The Global Labor Organization (GLO) is an independent, non-partisan and non-governmental organization that functions as an international network and virtual platform to stimulate global research, debate and collaboration.

Marina Murat

GLO Discussion Paper No. 747, 2021

Emigration and development. What are the links? Download PDF
by
Murat, Marina

GLO Fellow Marina Murat


Author Abstract: The ‘mobility transition’ hypothesis – with emigration first increasing and then decreasing as a country develops – (Zelinsky, 1971) is often interpreted as a stylised fact, which bears the implication that immigration into rich countries will grow as low-income countries develop. This paper tests the relationships between development and emigration from 130 developing countries during 25 years. Results, robust to different semiparametric and parametric specifications, show that emigration from low to middle-income countries declines as income increases, education improves or population growth slows down. The stage of development at home also affects the main destinations of emigration. Immigration into rich economies increases from countries at intermediate levels of development. Hence, policies supporting development in low-income countries are associated with less emigration to all destinations, including that to rich economies.

GLO Discussion Papers are research and policy papers of the GLO Network which are widely circulated to encourage discussion. Provided in cooperation with EconStor, a service of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, GLO Discussion Papers are among others listed in RePEc (see IDEAS,  EconPapers)Complete list of all GLO DPs – downloadable for free.

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Grégory Ponthière joins the group of Editors of the Journal of Population Economics

With immediate effect, Grégory Ponthière (UCLouvain) joins the group of Editors of the Journal of Population Economics. He will work with Editors Shuaizhang Feng (Jinan University), Oded Galor (Brown University), Terra McKinnish (University of Colorado Boulder), Editor-in-Chief Klaus F. Zimmermann (UNU-MERIT) and with Managing Editors Michaella Vanore (UNU-MERIT) and Madeline Zavodny (University of North Florida).

Interview with Grégory Ponthière


GLO: What brought you to population economics?

Grégory Ponthière: As a Ph.D. student in Economics in Cambridge in the early 2000s, I became interested in the measurement of human welfare across long periods of time. From that perspective, variations in survival conditions play a fundamental role, since the finiteness of life is a major cause of scarcity and deprivation for humans. This definitely oriented my research at the intersection of economic theory and demography.

GLO: Why can micro theory help us to understand demographic processes?

Grégory Ponthière: Demographic outcomes (fertility, mortality, migration) are influenced by economic factors, in particular individual endowments in terms of physical or human capital, and also by prices faced by individuals (e.g. the wage rate, housing prices). Thus demographic processes cannot be understood without considering the economic conditions under which they take place. This makes the microeconomic analysis of demographic trends fundamental: focusing on microeconomic foundations allows us to identify conditions under which existing population trends can be rationalized or explained. But I would go even further, and defend the view that most economic processes – in particular accumulation mechanisms and dynamics – cannot be understood without considering demography. Economic and demographic outcomes are joint products, and this makes population economics a central field of economic analysis.

GLO: Explain us your field of specialization!

Grégory Ponthière: My research lies at the intersection of economic theory and demography. It focuses, from a theoretical perspective, on multidirectional relations between economic variables and demographic outcomes. I published several papers on the economic rationalization of mortality variations (within a population at a given period and across long periods of time), and also on the microeconomic study of the timing of births (in particular the advancement of births in the early 20th century, followed by a postponement of births starting in the 1970s). Besides those positive studies, my research also examined the design of optimal public policies when demographic outcomes are endogenously determined within the economy, and depend on material living conditions faced by individuals. Those normative studies involved the design of prevention policies, pensions, long term care social insurance, family policies (in particular family allowances) and fiscal policies (the taxation of savings and bequests).

GLO: What excites you most in your current research?

Grégory Ponthière: My current research focuses on the construction of a fair Welfare State, and on the normative foundations behind public policies. Since the pioneer works of Bentham and Mill, there is a long tradition, in Economics, which adopts utilitarianism as an ethical benchmark (the principle of “the largest happiness for the largest number”). My current research aims at identifying the unattractive implications of utilitarianism in the context where the population is heterogeneous on important dimensions (e.g. the genetic background determining longevity outcomes or the natural fecundity of individuals), and proposes to rethink the design of the Welfare State while adopting alternative normative foundations, which lay a stronger emphasis on equalizing welfare across individuals (either in ex ante terms or in ex post terms). Taking unequal demographic outcomes into account – beyond the mere “representative agent” – does not leave the design of the Welfare State unchanged.

GLO: Why have you accepted to take the Editor position?

Grégory Ponthière: I have been doing research in population economics since the beginning of my Ph.D. thesis, almost 20 years ago. Thus I have a long-lasting interest in that field of economic research. During that period, my research has greatly benefited from the (indirect) supervision of editors of journals, and also from the work of a large number of anonymous reviewers. It is time for me to contribute to the public good, by participating more actively to the life of scientific journals, not only as an author or as a reviewer, but also as an editor. Joining the Editorial team of the Journal of Population Economics is a unique opportunity to contribute actively to the flourishing of that exciting area of research.

GLO: Where do you see promising fields for population theory the Journal could explore?

Grégory Ponthière: At the micro level, I can see two promising areas of research, which are quite complementary. The first one concerns the modelling of the human life cycle, which faces serious limitations when considering basic decisions (e.g. the long term care insurance puzzle). In particular, the inclusion, within the lifecycle model, of the risk about the duration of life is challenging. A second – related – field concerns the modelling of the interests of economic agents at the two extremities of life: childhood and old-age dependency. Public policies should take the interests of the very young and of the very old into account, but the problem is that those individuals may not have well-defined preferences in the same way as adults can have. The microeconomic analysis of the family thus still faces major challenges, and those challenges are also relevant for the macroeconomic study of demographic trends. Finally, another fundamental challenge for population economics concerns the design of the Welfare State when demographic variables react to public policies, i.e. abstracting from the usual “ceteris paribus” assumption. This last point is most relevant in the context of the corona crisis.

GLO: Will the coronavirus change the world of academic publishing?

Grégory Ponthière: It is too early to know what will be the long-run consequences of coronavirus on the society, and on the world of science in particular. But one thing is certain: the corona crisis does not only affect health and mortality outcomes around the world, but it also deteriorates teaching and learning conditions in all universities. As such, this deteriorates the foundations of science in the future.

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With Editor and GLO Fellow Grégory Ponthière spoke Klaus F. Zimmermann, GLO President & Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Population Economics.

GLO Fellow Gregory Ponthiere is a Professor of Economics and Philosophy at the Hoover Chair in Economic and Social Ethics, UCLouvain, and an Editor of the Journal of Population Economics. Before joining UCLouvain, he held permanent positions at the Ecole Normale Superieure and at the University Paris XII, and was an Associate Researcher at the Paris School of Economics. His research focuses on relations between economic and demographic outcomes, from a positive perspective (rationalization of stylized facts) and a normative perspective (design of a fair Welfare State). His publications include three books and articles in journals such as the Journal of Economic Theory, the International Economic Review, Social Choice and Welfare and the Journal of Public Economics. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Institut Universitaire de France.

Editor-in-Chief & Managing Editors

Editors

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