Understanding Cross-Country Heterogeneity in Health and Economic Outcomes during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Revealed-Preference Approach
There is a large heterogeneity in health and macroeconomic outcomes across countries during the COVID-19 pandemic. We present a novel framework to understand the source of this heterogeneity, combining an estimated macro-epidemiological model and the idea of revealed preference. Our framework allows us to decompose the difference in health and macroeconomic outcomes across countries into two components: preference and constraint. We find that there is a large heterogeneity in both components across countries and that some countries such as Japan or Australia are willing to accept a large output loss to reduce the number of COVID-19 deaths.
The COVID-19 pandemic has posed the world a question that has not been asked for many decades: How should a society balance infection control and economic activity during a pandemic? Different countries have struggled with this question differently, and we have witnessed a diverse set of health and macroeconomic outcomes across countries during the COVID-19 pandemic. As shown in Figure 1, there are countries that have seen large output loss and many deaths, while there are countries that have seen small output loss and few deaths. There are countries with large output loss and few deaths, yet there are countries with small output loss and many deaths.