The Effectiveness of Life-Preserving Investments in Times of COVID-19
We analyze the effectiveness of preventive investments aimed at increasing agents' life expectancy, with a focus on influenza and COVID-19 mitigation. Maximizing overall life expectancy requires allocating resources across hazards so as to equalize investments' marginal effectiveness. Based on estimates for the marginal effectiveness of influenza vaccines, we determine the level of COVID-19 mitigation investments that would imply such equalization. Given current projections for COVID-19 mitigation costs, our results suggest that wide-spread influenza vaccination would be an effective life-preserving investment.
We thank Jonathan Berk, Johannes van Binsbergen, and Meghan Opp for helpful comments and suggestions. All remaining errors are our own. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.