EconPol Policy Briefs

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COVID-19: The World Economy Needs a Lifeline – But Which One?

Dorine Boumans, Sebastian Link and Stefan Sauer (EconPol Europe, ifo Institute)

This paper from Dorine Boumans, Sebastian Link and Stefan Sauer (EconPol Europe, ifo Institute) presents the results of a survey of 1000 economic experts in 110 countries on the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the effectiveness of different policy measures to combat the crisis for different countries. The results indicate that economies all around the globe are severely hit by the COVID-19 crisis. The experts perceive the reductions in investment to have the strongest impact on their domestic economies. In consequence, the experts expect a severe recession in almost all countries in 2020, followed by a long period of economic recovery. The experts rate emergency liquidity assistance to firms as well as temporary tax deferrals for businesses as the most effective policy measures, but do not regard other responses such as helicopter money or lenient bank supervision as being well suited to combat the crisis. 

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The Search for the Right European Financing Instruments in the Corona Pandemic: ESM Liquidity Assistance Versus Corona Bonds

Friedrich Heinemann (EconPol Europe, ZEW)

The purported advantages of corona bonds over the ESM are meagre to non-existent, says Friedrich Heinemann (EconPol Europe, ZEW). The challenge we face is to contain the spread of COVID-19 while stabilising the economy and ensuring eurozone states have sufficient liquidity and the ESM is a suitable tool for pursuing these ends. However, we should wait until the acute phase of the crisis has passed before engaging in discussion of how to handle high debt levels and possible cases of insolvencies among eurozone nations, and the difficult question of who finally bears the burden of unsustainable debts.

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The Economic Costs of the Coronavirus Shutdown for Selected European Countries: A Scenario Calculation

Florian Dorn, Clemens Fuest, Marcell Göttert, Carla Krolage, Stefan Lautenbacher, Robert Lehmann, Sebastian Link, Sascha Möhrle, Andreas Peichl, Magnus Reif, Stefan Sauer, Marc Stöckli, Klaus Wohlrabe, Timo Wollmershäuser

This paper presents scenarios of the shutdown costs in terms of lost value added for Austria, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Switzerland and UK. The shutdown phase will lead to considerable production losses and large declines in GDP this year. Lasting longer than a month, the losses within the EU quickly reach dimensions well beyond the growth slump of previous recessions or natural disasters. Shutdown costs justify almost every conceivable investment in health policy measures which allow to combine a resumption of production with further fight against the epidemic.

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Group Testing Against Covid-19

Christian Gollier (EconPol Europe, Toulouse School of Economics University of Toulouse- Capitole), Olivier Gossner (CNRS – CREST, Ecole Polytechnique, London School of Economics)

Testing for Covid-19 is a bottleneck that we face in front of the pandemic. Test production is currently much below what is necessary for mass testing strategies which are required in order to control the pandemic while letting people go back to work. In this paper, Christian Gollier (EconPol Europe, Toulouse School of Economics University of Toulouse- Capitole) and Olivier Gossner (CNRS – CREST, Ecole Polytechnique, London School of Economics) show how group testing can be optimized in three applications to multiply the efficiency of tests against Covid-19: Estimating virus prevalence to measure the evolution of the pandemic; bringing negative groups back to work to exit the current lockdown; and testing for individual infectious status to treat sick people. 

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Portugal’s GDP, a Note on the 2020 Unknowns

António Afonso (EconPol Europe, Lisbon School of Economics and Management of the Universidade de Lisboa)

António Afonso (EconPol Europe, Lisbon School of Economics and Management of the Universidade de Lisboa) has estimated the real growth rate of GDP in Portugal in 2020 and predicts a budget deficit of around 3% or 4% of GDP, implying a break and not a fiscal regime switch. Of particular relevance, he says, is private consumption and investment, with households cutting spending significantly and an increase in government spending necessary to cover the lack of domestic demand.

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