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Dealing with Covid-19: understanding the policy choices

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BIS Bulletin  |  No 19  |  22 May 2020 by  Frederic Boissay, Daniel Rees and Phurichai Rungcharoenkitkul PDF full text (744kb)  |  9 pages Key takeaways Containment policies save lives but restrict economic activity. Standard approaches to accounting for the value of human lives lend support to these policies despite their high short-term economic costs. Integrated epidemic-macroeconomic models provide a coherent framework for quantifying the costs and benefits of containment policies. Part of the benefit comes from limiting

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BIS Bulletin  |  No 19  | 
22 May 2020
PDF full text
 (744kb)
 |  9 pages

Key takeaways

  • Containment policies save lives but restrict economic activity. Standard approaches to accounting for the value of human lives lend support to these policies despite their high short-term economic costs.
  • Integrated epidemic-macroeconomic models provide a coherent framework for quantifying the costs and benefits of containment policies. Part of the benefit comes from limiting externalities that would otherwise arise if social distancing were purely voluntary.
  • Standard epidemiological and economic parameters suggest that several months of strict containment policies that lead to as much as a 30% decline in GDP for the period of the lockdown could be preferable to alternatives with more casualties and a less severe recession.

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International Settlement
The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) is an international company limited by shares owned by central banks which "fosters international monetary and financial cooperation and serves as a bank for central banks". The BIS carries out its work through subcommittees, the secretariats it hosts and through an annual general meeting of all member banks. It also provides banking services, but only to central banks and other international organizations. It is based in Basel, Switzerland, with representative offices in Hong Kong and Mexico City.

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