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The long-term economic effects of pandemics: toward an evolutionary approach

Epidemics and trust: the case of the Spanish flu

Beniamino Callegari and Christophe Feder

Industrial and Corporate Change, 2022, vol. 31, issue 3, 715-735

Abstract: COVID-19 has brought to the forefront of academic debates the consequences of pandemics and their appropriate policy responses. Using the PRISMA methodology, we provide a comprehensive review of the economic and historical analysis of the long-term economic consequences of pandemics. Mainstream economists focus on the impact of pandemics on production factors, finding a rich but contrasting set of mechanisms with overall negative or insignificant effects. Historians focus on the institutional impact, finding positive effects of pandemics when they trigger new socioeconomic arrangements. Evolutionary economists can integrate into the economic debate both historical elements and the complex biological characteristics of pandemics. We argue that the evolutionary approach provides new and fertile theoretical foundations to understand the phenomenon and develop effective policies.

Date: 2022
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