Linda Thunström, 05 October 2020

The scientific community has come together in an unprecedented effort to find a COVID-19 vaccine. However, the success of any vaccine depends on the share of the population that gets vaccinated, and in a middle-of-the-road scenario with central estimates of model parameters, a vaccine will benefit public health by saving many lives but nevertheless may fail to achieve herd immunity. Linda Thunström (University of Wyoming) talks to Tim Phillips about a recent Covid Economics paper reporting on a survey of American attitudes towards vaccination. The results of the survey suggest that 20% of the American population may refuse a COVID-19 vaccine.

Linda Thunström's Paper can be found in Issue 35 of CEPR's Covid Economics Papers

M. Aykut Attar, Ayça Tekin-Koru, 11 June 2020

As governments begin to ease lockdown measures over the coming months, understanding how effectively countries have applied social distancing practices will be essential. This column introduces a Model-Inferred measure of latent social DIStancing (MIDIS) and calculates the measure for 44 countries using daily data and an epidemiology model. Mobility data from Apple and Google indicate that the measure can accurately measure distancing, and the measure also reflects governmental and behavioural responses while maintaining a robust relationship with daily output losses.

Roberto Chang, Andres Velasco, 01 May 2020

Much has been written about the stark choice facing governments in the wake of COVID-19. Should they preserve lives or livelihoods? Less has been said about the equally stark choices facing ordinary citizens, yet the decisions they make every day – whether or not to comply with lockdown and social distancing measures, for instance – are as important as those made by their governments. This column argues that if economic policy incentives are responsible for even a fraction of compliance rates, then policy has a crucial role to play in the fight against Covid-19.

Olivier Sterck, Max Roser, Mthuli Ncube, Stefan Thewissen, 16 February 2018

Large multilateral organisations like WHO and the UN rely heavily on average income data in determining eligibility for, and the allocation of, development assistance for health. This column tests this paradigm by analysing the determinants of health outcomes for 99 countries. A country’s epidemiological surroundings, poverty gap, and institutional capacity appear to be much better predictors of health outcomes than gross national income. These findings suggest alternative metrics that could be leveraged in allocating development assistance for health.

Victor Gay, Daniel Hicks, Estefania Santacreu-Vasut, 10 September 2016

Evidence suggests that many forms of gender inequality are higher in countries where the language distinguishes gender. But these patterns could arise spuriously, as languages and other cultural institutions have co-evolved throughout history. This column uses an epidemiological approach to isolate language from other cultural forces and provide direct evidence on whether language matters. The findings suggest how gender roles have been shaped, how they are perpetuated, and, ultimately, how they can be changed.

Lucia Corno, Áureo De Paula, 13 January 2015

Addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic requires an understanding of how risky sexual behaviours change over time. This column observes that, whereas the accuracy of self-reported data depends on the likelihood of people telling the truth, the likelihood of risky behaviours being detected in tests for sexually transmitted infections is equal to the disease transmission rate. Self-reported data may therefore be a more reliable measure of risky behaviours than the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections when the probability of transmission is low.


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