Pandemics and Local Economic Growth: Evidence from the Great Influenza in Italy

31 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2020

See all articles by Mario Carillo

Mario Carillo

CSEF - University of Naples Federico II

Tullio Jappelli

University of Naples Federico II - Department of Economics and Statistics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI); Center for Studies in Economics and Finance - CSEF; CSEF - University of Naples Federico II - Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF)

Date Written: June 2020

Abstract

We investigate the link between the 1918 Great Influenza and regional economic growth in Italy, a country in which the measures implemented by public authorities to contain the contagion were limited or ineffective. The pandemic caused about 600,000 deaths in Italy, a death rate of about 1.2%. We find evidence of a strong and significant adverse effect of the pandemic on regional growth. In particular, going from regions with the lowest mortality to those with the highest mortality is associated to a decline in per capita GDP growth of about 6.5%, which dissipated within three years. In line with this finding, we also estimate a small and transitory negative effect of the influenza on industrialization. Our estimates provide an upper bound of the adverse effect of pandemics on local economic growth in the absence of non-pharmaceutical public health interventions.

Keywords: Great Influenza, mortality and growth, regional growth

Suggested Citation

Carillo, Mario and Jappelli, Tullio, Pandemics and Local Economic Growth: Evidence from the Great Influenza in Italy (June 2020). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP14849, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3628169

Mario Carillo (Contact Author)

CSEF - University of Naples Federico II ( email )

via Cinthia, 4
Naples, Caserta 80126
Italy

Tullio Jappelli

University of Naples Federico II - Department of Economics and Statistics ( email )

Via Cintia - Monte S. Angelo
Napoli, 80126
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://www.csef.it/people/jappelli.htm

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.cepr.org/researchers/details/rschcontact.asp?IDENT=106354

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

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

HOME PAGE: http://www.ecgi.org

Center for Studies in Economics and Finance - CSEF ( email )

Via Cintia - Monte S. Angelo
Napoli, 80126
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://www.csef.it/people/jappelli.htm

CSEF - University of Naples Federico II - Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF) ( email )

Via Cintia
Complesso Monte S. Angelo
Naples, Naples 80126
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://www.csef.it/people/jappelli.htm

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