Into the Abyss and Back: COVID-19 and the Economy

What impact will the COVID-19 virus have on the global economy—and what simulation tools can assist in understanding this impact?

Nicolas Vincent, Pierre Yared, Gabriele Martegiani  | Spring 2021
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First emerging in China in early January 2020, the lethal COVID-19 virus quickly spread throughout Europe and to the US east coast, with New York City as the epicenter. In March the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. Policy makers agreed that a vaccine would be necessary to control the virus, however, interim measures would be necessary until a safe vaccine could be developed, manufactured and distributed. The key initiatives undertaken in “flattening the curve” of the virus’s spread included voluntary social distancing, frequent sanitation of hands and surfaces, and, in some instances, mandatory lockdowns. These measures forced many businesses to operate at limited capacity and also reduced the supply of some inputs such as labor. By December 2020 several vaccines had been developed and the world awaited mass distribution, while thousands of people continued to succumb to COVID-19 every day. In this environment, despite regulatory, monetary, and fiscal responses to the crisis, there was both uncertainty about the short-run path to economic recovery as well as the long-term impact of COVID-19 for the global economy. In this case, students will work with a Microsoft Excel-built simulation tool to help understand how disease dynamics work and how it affects the economy.

Case ID: 210307
Supplemental Materials: Teaching Note, Excel Spreadsheets , SIR Model for Class - For Students , Analysis on Italy Cyclicality

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