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The Rise of Covidnomics

The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing medical professionals and economists alike to grapple with issues that cross the normal boundaries of their respective disciplines. Recognizing this creates scope for policy interventions that can contain the pandemic without crushing the economy.

ITHACA – Boundaries between academic disciplines are always artificial creations intended to facilitate analysis, given our limitations. But as the economist Albert Hirschman once argued, there are times when it is incumbent on us to trespass them. The ongoing battle against COVID-19 and its economic fallout is such a time.

The pandemic has cast a shadow over the global economy. So far, the two worst-performing economies in the second quarter of 2020 (April-June) were Peru and India, where GDP shrank by 30.2% and 23.9%, respectively, in year-on-year terms. These record declines were caused by the pandemic, but also by how we are dealing with it.

In Peru, for example, the crude mortality rate (CMR) – the number of COVID-19 deaths per million people – is 939. The plunge in its GDP is clearly related to this.

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