NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Peter Zhixian Lin

1 Shields Ave
University of California, Davis
Davis, CA 95616

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Institutional Affiliation: University of California, Davis

NBER Working Papers and Publications

May 2020A Note on Long-Run Persistence of Public Health Outcomes in Pandemics
with Christopher M. Meissner: w27119
Covid-19 is the single largest threat to global public health since the Spanish Influenza pandemic of 1918-20. Was the world better prepared in 2020 than it was in 1918? After a century of public health and basic science research, pandemic response and mortality outcomes should be better than in 1918-20. We ask whether mortality from historical pandemics has any predictive content for mortality in the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. We find a strong persistence in public health performance in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. Places that performed poorly in terms of mortality in 1918 were more likely to have higher mortality today. This is true across countries and across a sample of US cities. Experience with SARS is associated with lower mortality today. Distrust of expert advice, lack...
Health vs. Wealth? Public Health Policies and the Economy During Covid-19
with Christopher M. Meissner: w27099
We study the impact of non-pharmaceutical policy interventions (NPIs) like “stay-at-home” orders on the spread of infectious disease. Local policies have little impact on the economy nor on local public health. Stay-at-home is only weakly associated with slower growth of Covid-19 cases. Reductions in observed “mobility” are not associated with slower growth of Covid-19 cases. Stay-at-home is associated with lower workplace and more residential activity, but common shocks matter much more. Moreover, job losses have been no higher in US states that implemented stay-at-home during the Covid-19 pandemic than in states that did not have stay-at-home. All of these results demonstrate that the Covid-19 pandemic is a common economic and public health shock. They also show that policy spillovers an...
 
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