VoxEU & CEPR Coverage of the Covid-19 Global Pandemic

Takatoshi Ito, Satoshi Koibuchi, Kiyotaka Sato, Junko Shimizu, Taiyo Yoshimi, 23 July 2021

The currency a firm chooses to invoice in reveals lessons on the prominence of that currency in the international sphere. This column presents survey data from Japanese overseas subsidiaries, highlighting how the use of Asian currencies has been growing steadily. The authors show that among Asian local currencies, Chinese renminbi and Thai baht are the most used currencies by Japanese subsidiaries. If these countries become increasingly important destination markets for regional countries, local currencies will be used more as trade invoice currency in Asia.

Mauro Caselli, Paolo Falco, Gianpiero Mattera, 22 July 2021

Racism in football returned to the headlines recently following racial abuse of England players on social media after the final of the UEFA European Championship. How does the harassment of supporters affect discriminated athletes? Using the COVID-19 lockdown as a natural experiment, this column compares the performance of individual football players in the Italian Serie A with and without fans at the stadium. The evidence shows that players of African origin, who are most frequently targeted by racist abuse, perform better in the absence of supporters.

Pamela Campa, Lucija Muehlenbachs, 22 July 2021

Every year in the US around 5,000 cases are brought against defendants for violating federal environmental statutes, with defendants given the opportunity to volunteer ‘Supplemental Environmental Projects’ in lieu of a cash penalty. This column uses the history of US federal environmental cases between 1997 and 2017 to examine the implications of such in-kind settlements for firms and communities. The findings suggest that on economic grounds, the use of Supplemental Environmental Projects is beneficial and worth continuing and that, as recommended by the OECD, environmental agencies worldwide could fruitfully use in-kind settlements.

Kathryn Judge, Anil Kashyap, 21 July 2021

That a shock the size of the Covid-19 pandemic would trigger distress in financial markets is far from surprising. What is surprising is how much of the distress arose in domains that could have been identified posing a potential threat to stability well before the pandemic hit. This column explores how the US financial regulatory regime is falling short and proposes reforms to increase the likelihood that policymakers will identify and address threats to stability – before they harm the real economy. 

Dan Zeltzer, Liran Einav, Joseph Rashba, Ran Balicer, 21 July 2021

The use of telemedicine rose sharply under the COVID-19 pandemic, and in the coming years we are likely to see more healthcare delivery that mixes in-person with remote care. But concerns remain over whether remote care might reduce care quality or increase costs. This column examines the effect of increased access to telemedicine on care cost and outcomes using data from Israel around the country’s first lockdown in March and April 2020. Access to telemedicine results in a slight increase in primary care use and no significant increase in overall costs. There is no evidence for decreased accuracy or increased likelihood of adverse events.

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