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A Literature Review of Pandemics and Development: the Long-Term Perspective

Beniamino Callegari and Christophe Feder ()
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Beniamino Callegari: Oslo New University College
Christophe Feder: CT-TEM - Università della Valle d’Aosta

Economics of Disasters and Climate Change, 2022, vol. 6, issue 1, No 8, 183-212

Abstract: Abstract Pandemics have been a long-standing object of study by economists, albeit with declining interest, that is until COVID-19 arrived. We review current knowledge on the pandemics’ effects on long-term economic development, spanning economic and historical debates. We show that all economic inputs are potentially affected. Pandemics reduce the workforce and human capital, have mixed effects on investment and savings, but potentially positive consequences for innovation and knowledge development, depending on accompanying institutional change. In the absence of an innovative response supporting income redistribution, pandemics tend to increase income inequalities, worsening poverty traps and highlighting the distributional issues built into insurance-based health insurance systems. We find that the effects of pandemics are asymmetric over time, in space, and among sectors and households. Therefore, we suggest that the research focus on the theoretical plausibility and empirical significance of specific mechanisms should be complemented by meta-analytic efforts aimed at reconstructing the resulting complexity. Finally, we suggest that policymakers prioritize the development of organizational learning and innovative capabilities, focusing on the ability to adapt to emergencies rather than developing rigid protocols or mimicking solutions developed and implemented in different contexts.

Keywords: Health Shock; Knowledge; Human Capital; Innovation; COVID-19; I15; O10; N30; J11 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1007/s41885-022-00106-w

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