COVID-19 is spreading human suffering worldwide; that is what we should all be focused on. But we are not doctors. We are economists – and COVID-19 is most definitely spreading economic suffering worldwide. The virus may in fact be as contagious economically as it is medically.
Joining the OECD’s dire growth forecast of 2 March 2020, the European Commission said on 4 March 2020 that both Italy and France are at risk of slipping into recession, and the IMF said it sees “more dire” possibilities ahead for the global economy.
This book is an extraordinary effort for extraordinary times. On Thursday 27 February, we emailed a group of leading economists to see if they’d contribute to the effort. The authors responded and the eBook came together literally over the weekend (the deadline for contributions was Monday 2 March 2020). The eBook is a testimony to the power of collaboration in a network that has the size, speed, flexibility, and talent of CEPR.
The key economic questions addressed in the book are: How, and how far and fast, will the economic damage spread? How bad will it get? How long will the damage last? What are the mechanisms of economic contagion? And, above all, what can governments do about it?