Sir Charles Bean's picture
Affiliation: 
London School of Economics
Credentials: 
MA Cambridge
PhD MIT

Voting history

Post Covid-19 Potential Output in the Eurozone

Question 2: How much lower will the potential growth rate of GDP in the Eurozone in 2025 be due to Covid-19 relative to pre-Covid forecasts?

 

Answer:
No different
Confidence level:
Not confident

Question 1: How much lower will the potential level of GDP in the Eurozone in 2025 be due to Covid-19 relative to pre-Covid forecasts?

 

Answer:
Between 2% and 5%
Confidence level:
Not confident

Lockdowns and UK Economic Performance

Question 3: Using not only the policy tools that have been part of the UK policy mix thus far but also policy tools implemented in other countries, to what extent does the government face a tradeoff between saving lives and preserving livelihoods? 

Answer:
Small tradeoff
Confidence level:
Not confident
Comment:
The answer depends on whether or not the search for an effective vaccine and other treatments is successful. If it is, then lockdowns and other public health measures can act as a bridge, saving lives (or more accurately saving a few years of life - 10 or less on average, given the age-mortality profile of those infected) but at considerable economic cost. In this case, the nature of the trade-off is clear. (The news on the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is obviously encouraging but there is still a long way to go before we can be sure that it is the answer and there is also the possibility of the virus mutating in the meantime.) If, however, the search for a vaccine is unsuccessful, then we have to learn to live with disease and the unavoidable destination is herd immunity. Getting there will involve a considerable number of premature deaths, though behavioual changes, mandated or voluntary, can affect the fraction of the population that need to be infected before herd immunity is achieved. In this case, the trade-offs are more subtle, involving setting the economic costs from periodic health restrictions against the benefits from preventing hospitals being overwhelmed. In both cases, it makes sense to adopt the most effective methods of controlling the virus. Experience in Asia strongly suggests that an effective track, trace and isolate system is the key to limiting the economic costs of keeping the virus in check. Finally, it is worth noting that the data are not strongly suggestive of a trade-off between lives and livelihoods. Looking across countries there is a very clear positive, rather than negative, correlation between covid deaths/million and the GDP loss during the first wave.

Question 2: How much will the new lockdown measures introduced on Thursday November 5 hurt UK economic activity this year relative to a counterfactual with the milder measures adopted over the summer?

Answer:
Small damage
Confidence level:
Not confident

Question 1: How much of the decline in GDP experienced to date would have been avoided in the absence of any lockdown measures or other policy interventions (such as fiscal support)?

Answer:
A moderate portion of the decline (around a half)
Confidence level:
Not confident

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