Cross-Country Effects and Policy Responses to COVID-19 in 2020: The Nordic Countries

31 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2021

See all articles by Daniel Gordon

Daniel Gordon

University of Calgary; Economics

Quentin Grafton

The Australian National University

Stein Ivar Steinshamn

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Business and Management Science

Date Written: March 29, 2021

Abstract

We provide a three-step analysis of the effects and responses to COVID-19 in Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden), large Western European countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and United Kingdom) and OECD Europe. First, we compare public health trends over 2020 in terms of per capita COVID-19 cases, fatalities, testing and the stringency of social distancing (SD) measures. Second, in a ‘like-with-like’ policy response model between Nordic countries, we test for the effects of air border closures on the growth in per capita COVID-19 cases while accounting for differences in stringency of social distancing and other measures. Third, using data from OECD European countries, we regress percentage change in GDP (2020 – 2019) on cumulative per capita national COVID-19 fatalities. We find that: (1) Sweden is an outlier, relative to its Nordic neighbours, in its COVID-19 public health outcomes; (2) Sweden would have had reduced cases and fatalities if it had adopted the air border closures implemented by its Nordic neighbours in the first half of 2020; and, (3) for OECD Europe, there is a statistically significant and negative association between per capita COVID-19 fatalities and economic performance.

Note: Funding Statement: This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors

Declaration of Interests: The authors declare there is no conflict of interest.

Keywords: social distancing, border closures, health-economic trade-offs, Sweden

JEL Classification: C54, E01, I18, H12

Suggested Citation

Gordon, Daniel and Grafton, Quentin and Steinshamn, Stein Ivar, Cross-Country Effects and Policy Responses to COVID-19 in 2020: The Nordic Countries (March 29, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3815058 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3815058

Daniel Gordon (Contact Author)

University of Calgary ( email )

University Drive
Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4
Canada

Economics ( email )

University Drive
Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4
Canada

Quentin Grafton

The Australian National University ( email )

Crawford School (Bldg 132)
The ANU
Acton, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://https://crawford.anu.edu.au/people/academic/quentin-grafton

Stein Ivar Steinshamn

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Business and Management Science ( email )

Helleveien 30
Bergen, NO-5045
Norway

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