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Michal Brzoza-Brzezina, Marcin Kolasa, and Krzysztof Makarski
We study the macroeconomic effects of the COVID-19 epidemic in a quantitative dynamic general equilibrium setup with nominal rigidities. We evaluate various containment policies and show that they allow to dramatically reduce the welfare cost of the disease. Then we investigate the role that monetary policy, in its capacity to manage aggregate demand, should play during the epidemic. According to our results, treating the observed output contraction as a standard recession leads to overly expansionary policy. Finally, we check how central banks should resolve the trade-off between stabilizing the economy and containing the epidemic. If no administrative restrictions are in place, the second motive prevails and, despite the deep recession, optimal monetary policy is in fact contractionary. Conversely, if sufficient containment measures are introduced, central bank interventions should be expansionary and help stabilize economic activity.
Mr. Francesco Grigoli and José M. Mota
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.
Philipp Engler, Nathalie Pouokam, Diego Rodriguez Guzman, and Mrs. Irina Yakadina
Voluntary and government-mandated lockdowns in response to COVID-19 have caused causing drastic reductions in economic activity around the world. We present a parsimonious two-country-SIR model with some degree of substitutability between home and foreign goods, and show that trading partners’ asynchronous entries into the global pandemic induce mutual welfare gains from trade. Those gains are realized through exchange rate adjustments that cause a temporary reallocation of production towards the economy with the lowest infection rate at any point in time. We show that international cooperation over containment policies that aim at optimizing global welfare further enhances the ability of countries to exploit trade opportunities to contain the spread of the pandemic. We characterize the Nash game of strategic choices of containment policies as a prisoners’ dilemma.
Nicoletta Batini, Ian W.H. Parry, and Mr. Philippe Wingender
Denmark has a highly ambitious goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 70 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. While there is general agreement that carbon pricing should be the centerpiece of Denmark’s mitigation strategy, pricing needs to be effective, address equity and leakage concerns, and be reinforced by additional measures at the sectoral level. The strategy Denmark develops can be a good prototype for others to follow. This paper discusses mechanisms to scale up domestic carbon pricing, compensate households, and possibly combine pricing with a border carbon adjustment. It also recommends the use of revenue-neutral feebate schemes to strengthen mitigation incentives, particularly for transportation and agriculture, fisheries and forestry, though these schemes could also be applied more widely.
Mr. Francesco Caselli, Mr. Francesco Grigoli, Weicheng Lian, and Mr. Damiano Sandri
Using high-frequency proxies for economic activity over a large sample of countries, we show that the economic crisis during the first seven months of the COVID-19 pandemic was only partly due to government lockdowns. Economic activity also contracted because of voluntary social distancing in response to higher infections. We also show that lockdowns can substantially reduce COVID-19 infections, especially if they are introduced early in a country's epidemic. Despite involving short-term economic costs, lockdowns may thus pave the way to a faster recovery by containing the spread of the virus and reducing voluntary social distancing. Finally, we document that lockdowns entail decreasing marginal economic costs but increasing marginal benefits in reducing infections. This suggests that tight short-lived lockdowns are preferable to mild prolonged measures.
Ms. Pritha Mitra, Eric M. Pondi Endengle, Ms. Malika Pant, and Luiz F. Almeida
Global attention to ending child marriage and its socio-economic consequences is gaining momentum. Ending child marriage is not only critical from a development perspective but it also has important economic implications. This paper is the first to quantify the relationship between child marriage and economic growth. Applying a simultaneous equations model, the analysis shows that eliminating child marriage would significantly improve economic growth—if child marriage were ended today, long-term annual per capita real GDP growth in emerging and developing countries would increase by 1.05 percentage points. The results also provide insights on policy prioritization in developing comprehensive strategies to end child marriage. For example, the strong interdependent relationship between education and child marriage suggests that education policies and the budgets that support them should place greater emphasis on reducing child marriage.
Nicoletta Batini
France is the top agricultural producer in the European Union (EU), and agriculture plays a prominent role in the country’s foreign trade and intermediate exchanges. Reflecting production volumes and methods, the sector, however, also generates significant negative environmental and public health externalities. Recent model simulations show that a well-designed shift in production and consumption to make the former sustainable and align the latter with recommended values can curb these considerably and generate large macroeconomic gains. I propose a policy toolkit in line with the government’s existing sectoral policies that can support this transition.
Andinet Woldemichael, Daniel Gurara, and Abebe Shimeles
Achieving universal health coverage, including financial risk protection and access to quality essential health-care services, is one of the main Sustainable Development Goals. In low-income countries, innovative and affordable health financing systems are key to realize these goals. This paper assesses the impacts of Community-Based Health Insurance Scheme in Rwanda on health-related financial risks using a nationally representative household survey data collected over a ten-year period. We find that the scheme significantly reduce annual per capita out-of-pocket spending by about 3,600 Rwandan Franc (about US$12) or about 83 percent of average per capita healthcare expenditure compared to the baseline level in 2000.The impacts however favor the rich as compared to the poor. The program also reduces the incidence of catastrophic healthcare spending significantly.
Hua Chai and Mr. Jun I Kim
This paper studies the effect of demographic change on national saving, global interest rates, and international capital flows, focusing on the role of the public pension system. We develop a small open economy overlapping generations model to illustrate the channels through which demographic variables and pension system generosity interact to affect both private and public saving behavior. We then extend this framework to a two-country setting and simulate scenarios of demographic change and pension reform. We find that the generosity of the pension system plays an important role in determining the movement of the global interest rate and patterns of international capital flows.