A Generalized SEIR-Model of COVID-19 with Applications to Health Policy

25 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2020 Last revised: 4 Jan 2021

See all articles by Ernst-Ludwig von Thadden

Ernst-Ludwig von Thadden

Universitaet Mannheim; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Date Written: April 16, 2020


This paper generalizes the standard epidemiological SEIR model of the spread of diseases such as COVID-19 in two respects. First, it considers the structure of the infectious population in more detail and introduces the concept of the "cohort composition kernel" that generalizes the aggregate transmission function. Second, it shows how policy measures such as testing and quarantine rules can affect this kernel and how this can provide estimates for the impact and lag of non-pharmaceutical policy interventions. On the technical side, the paper shows how to dispense with the standard assumption of exponential transition dynamics and to work with general transition processes by using the convolution of densities.

Keywords: COVID-19, SIR model, economic policy

JEL Classification: C51, C54, C82, D80, E17, H12, I18

Suggested Citation

von Thadden, Ernst-Ludwig, A Generalized SEIR-Model of COVID-19 with Applications to Health Policy (April 16, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3580767 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3580767

Ernst-Ludwig Von Thadden (Contact Author)

Universitaet Mannheim ( email )

Department of Economics
Mannheim, 68131

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

United Kingdom

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o the Royal Academies of Belgium
Rue Ducale 1 Hertogsstraat
1000 Brussels

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