An Economic Model of the Covid-19 Epidemic: The Importance of Testing and Age-Specific Policies

71 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2020

See all articles by Luiz Brotherhood

Luiz Brotherhood

University of Barcelona; University of Barcelona - Barcelona Economic Analysis Team (BEAT)

Philipp Kircher

Cornell University

Cezar Santos

Bank of Portugal

Michèle Tertilt

University of Mannheim - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: 2020

Abstract

This paper investigates the role of testing and age-composition in the Covid-19 epidemic. We augment a standard SIR epidemiological model with individual choices regarding how much time to spend working and consuming outside the house, both of which increase the risk of transmission. Individuals who have flu symptoms are unsure whether they caught Covid-19 or simply a common cold. Testing reduces the time of uncertainty. Individuals are heterogeneous with respect to age. Younger people are less likely to die, exacerbating their willingness to take risks and to impose externalities on the old. We explore heterogeneous policy responses in terms of testing, confinements, and selective mixing by age group.

Keywords: Covid-19, testing, social distancing, age-specific policies

JEL Classification: E170, C630, D620, I100, I180

Suggested Citation

Brotherhood, Luiz and Kircher, Philipp and Santos, Cezar and Tertilt, Michèle, An Economic Model of the Covid-19 Epidemic: The Importance of Testing and Age-Specific Policies (2020). CESifo Working Paper No. 8316, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3618840 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3618840

Luiz Brotherhood (Contact Author)

University of Barcelona

University of Barcelona - Barcelona Economic Analysis Team (BEAT) ( email )

Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes
Barcelona, 08007
Spain

Philipp Kircher

Cornell University ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

Cezar Santos

Bank of Portugal ( email )

Rua Francisco Ribeiro, 2
Lisbon, 1150-165
Portugal

Michèle Tertilt

University of Mannheim - Department of Economics ( email )

D-68131 Mannheim
Germany

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