EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

Local mortality estimates during the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy

Augusto Cerqua (), Roberta Di Stefano (), Marco Letta and Sara Miccoli ()
Additional contact information
Roberta Di Stefano: Sapienza University of Rome
Sara Miccoli: Sapienza University of Rome

Journal of Population Economics, 2021, vol. 34, issue 4, No 3, 1189-1217

Abstract: Abstract Estimates of the real death toll of the COVID-19 pandemic have proven to be problematic in many countries, Italy being no exception. Mortality estimates at the local level are even more uncertain as they require stringent conditions, such as granularity and accuracy of the data at hand, which are rarely met. The “official” approach adopted by public institutions to estimate the “excess mortality” during the pandemic draws on a comparison between observed all-cause mortality data for 2020 and averages of mortality figures in the past years for the same period. In this paper, we apply the recently developed machine learning control method to build a more realistic counterfactual scenario of mortality in the absence of COVID-19. We demonstrate that supervised machine learning techniques outperform the official method by substantially improving the prediction accuracy of the local mortality in “ordinary” years, especially in small- and medium-sized municipalities. We then apply the best-performing algorithms to derive estimates of local excess mortality for the period between February and September 2020. Such estimates allow us to provide insights about the demographic evolution of the first wave of the pandemic throughout the country. To help improve diagnostic and monitoring efforts, our dataset is freely available to the research community.

Keywords: COVID-19; Coronavirus; Local mortality; Italy; Machine learning; Counterfactual building (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C21 C52 I10 J11 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (5) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s00148-021-00857-y Abstract (text/html)
Access to the full text of the articles in this series is restricted.

Related works:
Working Paper: Local mortality estimates during the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy (2020) Downloads
Working Paper: Local mortality estimates during the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy (2020) Downloads
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:34:y:2021:i:4:d:10.1007_s00148-021-00857-y

Ordering information: This journal article can be ordered from
http://www.springer. ... tion/journal/148/PS2

DOI: 10.1007/s00148-021-00857-y

Access Statistics for this article

Journal of Population Economics is currently edited by K.F. Zimmermann

More articles in Journal of Population Economics from Springer, European Society for Population Economics Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Sonal Shukla () and Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing ().

 
Page updated 2022-09-11
Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:34:y:2021:i:4:d:10.1007_s00148-021-00857-y