Abstract What do climate change, global financial crises, pandemics, and fragility and conflict have in common? They are all examples of global risks that can cross geographical and generational boundaries and whose mismanagement can reverse gains in development and jeopardize the well-being of generations. Managing risks such as these becomes a global public good, whose benefits also cross boundaries, providing a rationale for collective action facilitated by the international community. Yet, as many public goods, provision of global public goods suffer from collective action failures that undermine international coordination. This paper discusses the obstacles to addresing these global risks effectively, highlighting their implications for the current juncture. It claims that remaining gaps in information, resources, and capacity hamper accumulation and use of knowledge to triger appropriate action, but diverging national interests remain the key impediment to cooperation and effectiveness of global efforts, even when knowledge on the risks and their consequences are well understood. The paper argues that managing global risks requires a cohesive international community that enables its stakeholders to work collectively around common goals by facilitating sharing of knowledge, devoting resources to capacity building, and protecting the vulnerable. When some countries fail to cooperate, the international community can still forge cooperation, including by realigning incentives and demonstrating benefit from incremental steps toward full cooperation.
Francesca G 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.
This primer aims to provide IMF macroeconomists with the essential information they need in situations where they must address issues concerning health sector policy and when they have significant macroeconomic implications. Such issues can also affect equity and growth and are fundamental to any strategy of poverty reduction. The primer highlights the appropriate roles for the state and market in health care financing and provision. It also suggests the situations in which macroeconomists should engage health sector specialists in policy formulation exercises. Finally, it illustrates the different health policy issues that confront countries at alternative stages of economic development and the range of appropriate policy options.