During the pandemic, this page will post work and notes by INET Oxford researchers with data, analyses and views on the crisis in real time. Given the fast-moving nature of the crisis, posts will not be subject to the normally rigorous review of our usual publication; by necessity work will be updated, refined, and corrected as events unfold. But we hope the work will nonetheless contribute to broader efforts to understand and manage the crisis.

1 April 2020

We need an ‘emergency survey’ based on random samples. Urgently.

Dr Tim Goedemé

During times of massive socio-economic change, it should be possible to quickly launch an emergency survey among a random sample of the population, with a panel that is followed over an extended period of time. In the current crisis, this sample should also be used to collect information on the incidence and distribution of COVID-19, to complement biased information from testing only very specific subpopulations. Such an emergency survey should allow to make much better informed policy decisions, including on targeted health interventions, uncovered needs in the population, and cushioning negative effects of current health measures, as well as on when to lift restrictions on fundamental freedoms, and how to jumpstart economic activity, once the health situation is back under control.

Read the post here.

25 March 2020

A Complex Systems Take on the Economics of COVID-19

Dr. Marco Pangallo

In this post Marco Pangallo of the Sant’Ann School for Advanced Studies in Pisa, Italy and an Associate Fellow at INET Oxford, provides an analysis of the COVID-19 economic crisis from a complex systems perspective. He argues that traditional equilibrium models cannot provide necessary insights into the key dynamics of the crisis, in particular the interplay between the public health dynamics and the economic dynamics. Agent-based models, similar to those developed by epidemiologists to guide the public health response, are urgently needed to capture the heterogeneity, network effects, and dynamics of the system to help guide policymakers in the economic response.

Read the post here.

24 March 2020

Q&A for a National Payroll Guarantee

Professor Eric Beinhocker

Supplementing his 23 March memo arguing for a U.S. national Payroll Guarantee as a key response to the COVID-19 crisis, Eric Beinhocker has posted a Q&A sheet answering key questions about the proposal.

23 March 2020

U.S. Consumption May Drop Circa 18% in Q2 – Initial Model and Estimates

Professor John Muellbauer

In this short paper John Muellbauer models the potential near-term shock to U.S. consumption from the effects of the pandemic and required public health measures. The results show an 18% fall in quarterly consumption and 15% drop in labour income. While these effects are highly approximate, they indicate impacts of a magnitude far greater than those experienced during the Global Financial Crisis 2007-9 and more similar to those experienced during the Great Depression. Policy responses to prevent such a collapse must be immediate and of a similar magnitude.

Link to paper here.


The U.S. and Other Major Economies Should Immediately Implement National Payroll Guarantees

Professor Eric Beinhocker

In this 2-page briefing note for U.S. policymakers, Eric Beinhocker makes the case for the U.S. to immediately follow the UK, France, and other European countries who have announced government nation-wide guarantees for the payrolls for all firms (large, small, profit, non-profit). This is an essential and urgent step towards limiting a catastrophic collapse in employment and incomes that has already begun in many countries. If workers can be kept in employment and incomes flowing during the lockdowns, there is a chance for a relatively rapid recovery once the public health crisis ends. But if businesses rapidly shed workers, even with significantly increased unemployment compensation or a temporary UBI, the large and rapid drop in incomes will lead to a downward spiral of collapsing demand and production, and huge frictional costs in re-starting the economy—an extended and deep depression will become likely. Other policies such as central bank interventions, business loans, or tax cuts are too slow and indirect to prevent such a collapse, only an immediate and blanket guarantee of payrolls will be fast enough.

Link to the paper here.


Daily Short-Term Forecasts of COVD-19 Cases and Deaths Using Machine Learning

Dr. Jennifer Castle, Dr. Jurgen Doornik, Prof. Sir David Hendry

The Economic Modelling team (EMoD) at INET Oxford is producing daily short-term (1 week) time-series forecasts of COVD-19 cases and deaths for a number of countries using autometric (i.e. machine learning) extrapolations from data on actual cases and deaths. This is a different methodology than the epidemiological models used to make medium and long-term forecasts. In a crisis with such high uncertainty and limited data it is useful to utilise multiple methods to make forecasts and compare results. Such high-frequency short-term forecasts may be useful to policymakers planning responses and healthcare workers planning capacity needs.

The forecasts are available here.

A description of the methodology is available here.


COVID-19 Data Dashboard Produced by Our World in Data

Dr. Max Roser

The Our World in Data Team have aggregated a large amount of COVID-19 data from a variety of sources and produced a comprehensive and highly usable set of pages providing a dashboard of statistics and graphs. The pages provide a resource for policymakers, academics, and journalists, as well as individuals.

The pages are available here.