16 Possible Factors for Sweden’s High COVID Death Rate among the Nordics

26 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2020

See all articles by Daniel B. Klein

Daniel B. Klein

George Mason University - Department of Economics; George Mason University - Mercatus Center

Joakim Book

American Institute for Economic Research

Christian Bjørnskov

Aarhus University - Department of Economics and Business; Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN); Center for Political Studies; Institute for Corruption Studies

Date Written: August 14, 2020

Abstract

What accounts for Sweden’s high COVID death rate among the Nordics? One factor could be Sweden’s lighter lockdown. But we suggest 15 other possible factors. Most significant are:

(1) the “dry-tinder” situation in Sweden (we suggest that this factor alone accounts for 25 to 50% of Sweden's COVID death toll);

(2) Stockholm’s larger population;

(3) Sweden’s higher immigrant population;

(4) in Sweden immigrants probably more often work in the elderly care system;

(5) Sweden has a greater proportion of people in elderly care;

(6) Stockholm’s “sport-break” was a week later than the other three capital cities;

(7) Stockholm’s system of elderly care collects especially vulnerable people in nursing homes. Other possible factors are:

(8) the Swedish elderly and health care system may have done less to try to cure elderly COVID patients;

(9) Sweden may have been relatively understocked in protective equipment and sanitizers;

(10) Sweden may have been slower to separate COVID patients in nursing homes;

(11) Sweden may have been slower to implement staff testing and changes in protocols and equipage;

(12) Sweden elderly care workers may have done more cross-facility work;

(13) Sweden might have larger nursing homes;

(14) Stockholmers might travel more to the Alpine regions;

(15) Sweden might be quicker to count a death "a COVID death.” We give evidence for these other 15 possible factors. It is plausible that Sweden’s lighter lockdown accounts for but a small part of Sweden’s higher COVID death rate.

Note: Funding: None.

Conflict of Interest: None.

Keywords: Coronavirus, pandemic, lockdown, elderly care, nursing home

JEL Classification: I18, I38, H4

Suggested Citation

Klein, Daniel B. and Book, Joakim and Bjørnskov, Christian, 16 Possible Factors for Sweden’s High COVID Death Rate among the Nordics (August 14, 2020). GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 20-27, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3674138 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3674138

Daniel B. Klein (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
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HOME PAGE: http://economics.gmu.edu/people/dklein

George Mason University - Mercatus Center ( email )

3434 Washington Blvd., 4th Floor
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Joakim Book

American Institute for Economic Research ( email )

PO Box 1000
Great Barrington, MA 01230
United States

Christian Bjørnskov

Aarhus University - Department of Economics and Business ( email )

Fuglesangs Allé 4
Aarhus V, DK-8210
Denmark

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) ( email )

Box 55665
Grevgatan 34, 2nd floor
Stockholm, SE-102 15
Sweden

Center for Political Studies

Landgreven 3
Copenhagen K, DK-1301
Denmark

Institute for Corruption Studies

Stevenson Hall 425
Normal, IL 61790-4200
United States

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