Video Vox

Linda Thunström 05 August 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

Fabiano Schivardi 29 July 2020

The COVID-19 crisis has induced a sharp drop in cash flow for many firms, possibly pushing solvent but illiquid firms into bankruptcy. Fabiano Schivardi tells Tim Phillips about a simple method that governments could use to determine the number of firms that could become illiquid, and when. When the method is applied to the population of Italian businesses he finds that at the peak, around 200,000 companies (employing 3.3 million workers) could become illiquid due to a total liquidity shortfall of €72 billion euros. It is essential that policymakers shelter businesses by acting quickly, especially if there is a ‘second peak’ after the summer.

Paola Profeta 22 July 2020

With recent research that may suggest that countries with female leaders are faring generally better in the struggle against Covid-19, Paola Profeta (Bocconi University) is not surprised. Her recent book 'Gender Equality and Public Policy' reveals how the presence of women in the economy and decision-making positions is itself shaping public policy, as she discusses with Tim Phillips.

Karl Wennberg 15 July 2020

What explains how, and when, infection prevention policies were adopted in different countries? Were they following the science, or following each other? New research by Karl Wennberg of Linköping University and his co-authors reaches some unexpected conclusions.

Sascha Steffen 14 July 2020

Using data on daily credit line drawdowns at the firm-loan-level, a study by Viral Acharya and Sascha Steffen examines the pandemic-driven ‘dash for cash’ among firms and how the stock market priced firms differentially based on liquidity. Sascha Steffen talks to Tim Phillips about the pandemic-driven ‘dash for cash’ among firms and how the US stock market rewarded firms with access to liquidity through either cash or committed lines of credit from banks. High-quality investment-grade firms issued bonds in public capital markets, particularly after the Federal Reserve Bank initiated its corporate bond-buying programme. In contrast, bond issuances of the lowest-rated investment-grade firms remained mostly flat; instead, these firms rushed to convert their credit line commitments from banks into cash, accounting for about half of all the credit line drawdowns. Consistent with the risk of becoming a fallen angel, this dash for cash has been driven by the lowest-quality BBB-rated firms. 

Christopher Meissner 24 June 2020

When we look at countries and cities, could their relative rates of Covid-19 mortality possibly mirror the data from the flu pandemic of a century ago? And if so, what makes some places better than others at learning from experience?
Christopher Meissner of UC Davis tells Tim Phillips whether, when it comes to fighting pandemics, history is destiny. 

Gita Gopinath 29 June 2020

Talking international trade, Gita Gopinath has pointed out how trade barriers destabilise the global economy and have to be considered harmful especially at times of already slowing growth. She explains how times have changed in recent years, after a decades-long push by many countries to lower trade barriers. “The global trading system was moving towards much greater integration, and for the first time we saw a reversal,” Gopinath explains. “Countries stepping back, unsure about the gains from international trade. That’s a sense in which these times are quite unique.”

Supriya Garikipati 26 June 2020

There have been regular news stories about how female leaders have done a better job at responding to the Covid-19. Is this really true, or just a media narrative based on a tiny sample? Supriya Garikipati of Liverpool University and Uma Kambhampati at Reading Tell Tim Phillips about how gender-based differences in leadership style may have saved lives and helped economies reopen earlier.

In the UK non-essential shops are opening again and restaurants, bars and offices will follow. But are policymakers making the right decisions? Monica Costa Dias and Rob Joyce tell TIm Phillips about who is, and is not, working at the moment, and what lockdown easing will mean for employment in the UK.

Gita Gopinath 19 June 2020

A regular part of Gita Gopinath's agenda at the IMF is the World Economic Outlook, which is essentially a growth projection for the upcoming year, but also includes policy advise to address global or country-specific challenges. The outbreak of the coronavirus or the US China trade tensions are developments Gopinath and her team monitor closely, to adjust their growth projections and discuss policy responses.

When the coronavirus crisis hit the global economy, Gopinath said it was the “worst recession since the Great Depression”. In April 2019, the IMF projected global growth in 2020 to fall to -3 percent, which was a downgrade of 6.3 percentage points in less than three months. “We’ve had a hundred countries approach us for emergency financing,” says Gopinath. “It’s never happened before. That tells you the gravity of this crisis.”

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