Economic Activity and the Value of Medical Innovation during a Pandemic
The “shutdown” economy of April 2020 is compared to a normally functioning economy both in terms of market and nonmarket activities. Three novel methods and data indicate that the shutdown puts market production 25-28 percent below normal in the short run. At an annual rate, the shutdown is costing $7 trillion, or about $15,000 per household per quarter. Employment already fell 28 million by early April 2020. These costs indicate, among other things, the value of innovation in both health and general business sectors that can accelerate the time when normal activity resumes.
I appreciate discussions with Luke Froeb, Kevin Murphy, Eric Posner, Eric Sun, and Joel Zinberg and financial support from the Program on Foundational Research on Health Care Markets at the Becker-Friedman Institute and from Citadel LLC. The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Casey B. Mulligan, 2021. "Economic Activity and the Value of Medical Innovation during a Pandemic," Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, vol 12(3), pages 420-440.