Video Vox

Coen Teulings 30 March 2021

School closures have been a globally used strategy in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Coen Teulings talks to Tim Phillips about a SIR (Susceptibles-Infected-Recovered) model for the Netherlands, where the recent closure of primary and secondary schools is shown to be counter-productive (as it increases future vulnerability to infection) and hard to reverse (since the increased vulnerability demands continuation). Behavioural economics explains why decision making and the public debate are so distorted, to the detriment of youngsters.

The business restrictions introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic greatly affected the labour market. However, quantifying their costs is not trivial as local policies affect neighbouring areas through spillovers. Gabriele Guaitoli and Todor Tochev of Warwick University tell Tim Phillips about their work which exploits the US local variation in restrictions and commuting, to estimate the causal direct and spillover impacts of lockdowns. Spillovers alone account for 10-15% of U.S. job losses.

Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh 16 March 2021

Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh talks to Tim Phillips about research on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on real estate markets in the US, where sizable enough changes in rent and price gradients have been documented to suggest that urban residents are fleeing city centres for the suburbs. Limits placed on city amenities combined with expanding opportunities to work from home have reduced the premium on urban living.

Catherine Porter 09 March 2021

Catherine Porter (Lancaster University) talks to Tim Phillips about her work on how the lives of adolescents in Low- and Middle- Income countries have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic downturn, using data from a large-scale phone survey conducted in four countries. Relative gains in the well-being of young people over the last twenty years or so have been lost in many cases and it is likely that the consequences of education dropout and links to potential mental health issues may mean the effects are long lasting in the absence of interventions to support young people’s wellbeing and livelihoods.
The paper behind this research is available for free download:
Young Lives, interrupted: Short-term Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Adolescents in Low- and Middle-Income Countries by Marta Favara, Richard Freund, Catherine Porter, Alan Sánchez, Douglas Scott (CEPR Covid Economics Papers, 04/02/2021 )

Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe 08 March 2021

Stephanie Schmitt Grohé explains that if interest rates are low and saving rates are high, economies get stuck in a liquidity trap. If interest rates can’t fall any further, a central bank has no tool to stimulate the economy. Monetary policy becomes ineffective. “In a liquidity trap, monetary policy is constrained. There’s no policy space left,” explains Schmitt-Grohé. “Inflation is below target, and expected inflation, five or ten years out, is also below target.” Schmitt-Grohé says that inflationary expectations are “unanchored.” People don’t believe that the central bank will be able to meet the inflation target anytime soon and take it that the new normal is a world with inflation lower than the central banks’ commitment.

Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe 08 March 2021

One of Stephanie Schmitt Grohé's research areas is record-low interest rates and low inflation over a long period of time. While too high levels of inflation are undesirable, Schmitt-Grohé explains that moderate inflation is a sign of a healthy economy as it, in multiple dimensions, aids the growth of an economy. Unfortunately, though, many countries have been undershooting their inflation target for years, which may impact the public opinion on central banks’ ability to steer the economy.

Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe 08 March 2021

Markets don't work perfectly and stabilisation policies by governments and central banks are crucial. In her research, Stephanie Schmitt-Grohé looked at different policy options to address the unemployment crisis that hit in many countries as a result of the economic shock from the financial crisis of 2007-08.  One solution was to better regulate capital inflows: moderate wage growth in the boom years would have helped ameliorate the unemployment problem of the subsequent crisis.

Benedict Guttman-Kenney 03 March 2021

The UK's recovery is heavily weighted towards the “home counties” around outer London and the South. Utilising Fable Data: a real-time source of consumption data that is a highly correlated, leading indicator of Bank of England and Office for National Statistics data, Ben Guttman-Kenney and colleagues observe a stark contrast between strong online spending growth while offline spending contracts with patterns of regional difference in spending matching lockdown tier levels. To prevent such COVID-19-driven regional inequalities from becoming persistent they propose governments introduce temporary, regionally-targeted interventions in 2021.

You can read the full paper behind this research here: A Levelling Down and the COVID-19 Lockdowns: Uneven Regional Recovery in UK Consumer Spending John Gathergood, Fabian Gunzinger, Benedict Guttman-Kenney, Edika Quispe-Torreblanca, and Neil Stewart

Michele Battisti 25 February 2021

Are schools triggering diffusion of Covid19? Michele Battisti talks to Tim Phillips about research that uses geolocalised microdata from Sicily to show schools contribute to a significant & positive increase in area cases. You can find the full paper, Schools opening and Covid-19 diffusion: evidence from geolocalized microdata by Emanuele Amodio, Michele Battisti, Andros Kourtellos, Giuseppe Maggio and Carmelo Massimo Maida, in this free issue of CEPR's Covid Economics Papers:

Michael Kende 16 February 2021

Michael Kende (Graduate Institute) talks to Tim Phillips about the lack of digital trust in contact tracing apps which could help control the pandemic, save lives, and normalise our societies and how this is a major wake-up call.



CEPR Policy Research