Olivier Marie, Judit Vall Castello, 28 July 2020

Many governments increased temporary sick-leave benefits in the wake of COVID-19, but the benefits are due to expire after a certain time. This column looks back at a 2012 policy change in Spain which radically altered the generosity of paid sick leave available to public-sector employees. Following the change, the number of sick leaves taken by public-sector workers dropped 29% but the likelihood of relapses increased, with most of it driven by infectious disease relapses. Policymakers need to manage changes in sick-leave generosity, especially in the face of persistent or recurring infectious diseases such as COVID-19.

Sara Markowitz, Erik Nesson, Joshua J. Robinson, 28 May 2020

High levels of economic activity can foster the spread of communicable diseases through frequent person-to-person interactions.  This column discusses how research on high levels of employment affects the spread of influenza and other viruses transmitted via droplet-spread, such as SARS-CoV-2.   The results show that the high levels of employment in the US encourages the spread of influenza, especially when employment in service sectors are high.  Our results provide support for social distancing measures aimed to slow the growth of cases of COVID-19.

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