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Economics of Pandemics

"The real problem of humanity is the following: we have paleolithic emotions, medieval institutions, and god-like technology" Edward O. Wilson (2009).

Some General Readings

Pale Rider by Laura Spinney, 2018 - A study of the Spanish flu pandemic, 1918-20, which killed between 50 and 100 million people, and infected over 500 million people, world-wide.
The Rules of Contagion by Adam Kucharski, 2020 - A brilliant account of the science of epidemiology.
The End of Epidemics by Jonathan Quick, 2018 - Some lessons on how global institutions can best coordinate to predict, model and prevent future pandemics.
The Great Leveler by Walter Scheidel, 2018 - Interesting analyses of what a world post an pandemic might look like.
Economics in the Age of Covid-19 by Joshua Gans, April 2020 - a book written in one month, summarizes some of the economic issues and policies. A version of the book can be accessed from here.


Our World in Data - a brilliant website with loads of data on many important topics, including on the Coronavirus pandemic (updated daily).
Visualizing the History of Pandemics - a visual display of the history of pandemics.

A Short Course on the Economics of Pandemics

Topic 1: The Problem, The Science, and The Main Issues

Slides: PDF version.
What is a pandemic? by Kimberly Hickok, Live Science, March 2020
Devastating Infectious Diseases by Wynne Parry and Elizabeth Peterson, Live Sciences, Feb 2020
Coronavirus cases are growing exponentially - here's what that means, by Andrew Hwang, The Conversation, April 2020
Impact of Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs) to reduce Covid-19 mortality healthcare demand, Neil Ferguson et al, Imperial College, London, March 2020
Why is the number "one" so important as Covid-19 sweeps Britain, by Sarah Newey, The Telegraph, April 2020
Coronavirus: the science explained, UKRI, March 2020
The Spanish flu (1918-20): The global impact of the largest influenza pandemic in history, Max Roser, March 2020,

Topic 2: Insights from Behavioural Science and Nudge Theory

Slides: PDF version
Your brain evolved to hoard supplies and shame others for doing the same, by Stephanie Preston, The Conversation, March 2020
Why is the [UK] Government relying on Nudge Theory to fight coronavirus? by Tony Yates, The Guardian, March 2020
Nudge, by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, 2009
Coronavirus: how the UK Government is using Behavioural Science, by Stuart Mills, The Conversation, March 2020
The Behavioural Science of Covid-19, by Ravi Dhar, Yale School of Management, March 2020
How Behavioural Science could help us stop coronavirus, by Peter Lunn, Prospect Magazine, March 2020
Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman, 2012

Topic 3: Encouraging Cooperation and Solving Coordination Problems

Slides: PDF version
Covid-19 and the Prisoners' Dilemma, by Pitamber Kaushik, Asia Times, March 2020
The game theory of panic-buying - and how to reduce it, by Chris Stiff, The Conversation, March 2020
Covid-19 and Game Theory, John Macdonald, The Adam Smith Institute, March 2020
Failing to coordinate against the coronavirus pandemic may be very costly for the world, by Matt Jackson, Stanford University, March 2020
Facing the coronavirus "are we finally going to learn our lesson?" by Jean Tirole, Toulouse School of Economics
The Company of Strangers, by Paul Seabright, 2010
The Art of Strategy, By Avinash Dixit and Barry Nalebuff, 2010
The Selfish Gene, by Richard Dawkins, 1989

Topic 4: Lockdowns and Livelihoods

Slides: PDF version.
Lives versus livelihoods - article from NYT, 25 March 2020
Impact on Poor Countries - article from the Economist, 26 March 2020
Epidemics and Economics, by David Bloom and David Canning, Harvard University, 2013
Some Economics of Flu Pandemics, by Gary Becker, University of Chicago, 2009
Does Social Distancing Matter? by Michael Greenstone and Vishan Nigam, March 2020, University of Chicago
The economics of coronavirus: some insight, by Christian Gollier and Stephane Straub, Toulouse School of Economics, March 2020
How do we value a statistical life, Tim Harford, The Financial Times, April 2020
How Economists Calculate the Costs and Benefits of Covid-19 Lockdowns, Chris Conover, Forbes, March 2020
Cost Benefit Analysis, by Anthony Boardman, 2017