COVID-19 - Coronavirus disease 2019

Economic Epidemiology of Covid-19 – ECOVID-19

Submission summary

ECOVID-19 aims to provide a comparative cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) of public policies undertaken in real-life conditions during the Covid-19 epidemic in France. We will compare three main measures: i) confinement measures ii) testing with a specific focus on undocumented infections iii) reminders on the so-called “barrier gestures”. To do so we will build a theoretical model of disease diffusion and test the model using quasi-experimental variation during the outbreak to evaluate the respective importance of policies and the timing of their implementation.

Our approach will be complementary to epidemiological models and other SHS projects previously selected by REACTing. Including individual trade-offs, learning, and externalities under uncertainty is indeed the main added value of economics in this field of research.

Our theoretical model will start from Adhvaryu (Review of economic studies, 2014) and Li et al. (Science, 2020) and will aim at quantifying the role of undocumented infections in France during the outbreak. Our focus will be on individual behaviors under belief-based uncertainty and the learning adaptive process during the outbreak.

Our empirical test will be based on Adda (Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2016) to estimate the relative cost-effectiveness of the above mentioned measures, while taking uncertainty and learning into account. Data on infections will come from two cohorts of patients: the "cohort of infected patients" (since the first patient treated on 01/24 in Bichat) and the "contact case cohort" managed by Santé Publique France and REACTing. This data will be combined with school closure, transports limitation, public announcements dates on compulsory confinement, and Twitter volume peaks as a proxy for information campaigns. We will use a simple event-study approach combined with a fuzzy difference-in-difference to assess the effectiveness of such measures. To calculate the expected monetary benefits, cost estimates will be taken from the literature and data we will collect.

Our project answers concretely to the third priority of the proposal namely “Infection prevention and control measures in community settings” and to two sub-objectives: “Conditions of efficiency and real conditions for implementing information, prevention, care and control actions” and “Evaluation and modelling of prevention and control measures”. This project brings together researchers who are among the best experts on the economics of health epidemics and human behaviors. The proposed team is limited to three researchers, one research assistant and one post-doctoral student to work efficiently and provide fast answers to relevant public policy questions in order to prepare future epidemics. Four external experts from different fields have been added in the governance of the project to receive feedbacks on our results.

Keywords: Economic activity, Economic Epidemiology, Cost-Effectiveness

Project coordination

Josselin THUILLIEZ (Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi Université Bocconi
AMSE Aix Marseille School of economics
CES Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne

Help of the ANR 187,133 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: March 2020 - 18 Months

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