Special Covid-19 Series, Issue #31

Autore : Action Institute

Data: 19-04-2021

Tipo: Other

Tematica: Action Institute



Hello, Action Institute Community!

While the COVID-19 pandemic is hurting the global economy, we at Action Institute aim at delivering a whole-rounded perspective, cutting through the noise.
Our weekly Special series approaches the effects of the virus from different perspectives: from medical facts to health policy, from economic policy to macroeconomic issues, from politics to financial markets, from technology to the impact on businesses, and more. We encourage our esteemed readers to provide us with feedback and suggestions.

This weekly issue proposes a selection of papers and articles focused on (i) Health Policy and (ii) Economic Policy.


“In Public Health, honesty is worth a lot more than hope.”, The Economist.

 “Why Even Well-Prepared Countries Failed the Pandemic Test” (Foreign Affairs, Christopher T. Lee and Tom Frieden, March 29th, 2021). This article argues how not only health system preparedness but also governance matters in a pandemic response. In particular, it highlights how the Joint External Evaluation (JEE) by the WHO cannot detect the preparedness of a National Health System (NHS) completely: JEE focuses only on the robustness of the laboratory systems, not on political factors. This gap can explain why even well-prepared countries failed the pandemic test.

 “Lockdown fatigue: The declining effectiveness of lockdowns” (, Patricio Goldstein, Eduardo Levy Yeyati and Luca Sartorio, March 30th, 2021). This column examines whether the effectiveness of lockdowns on the virus’ spread and death toll has changed over the past year, using data from 152 countries from the onset of the pandemic through December 31st, 2020. The study finds that lockdown does not work as a continuous containment policy in the event of a protracted pandemic.

 “Vaccine Passports: What to Know” (Council on Foreign Relations, Claire Felter, April 7th, 2021). This article explores the current debate over vaccine passports as some governments and businesses are starting to use digital and paper passes that certify whether a person has been immunized against COVID-19. Some experts, however, warn their use could complicate vaccination efforts and that the patchwork of different vaccine passports could cause a global headache.



“Economists agree about economics – and that’s a science – and they disagree about economic policy because that’s a value judgment.”, Franco Modigliani 

 “Persistent COVID-19: Exploring potential economic implications” (Bruegel, Oliver Blanchard and Jean Pisani-Ferry, March 12th, 2021). This article describes three economic implications of a scenario of recurrent epidemic outbreaks. The first is lasting border restrictions, as countries try to protect themselves from infections elsewhere. The second is the likelihood of repeated lockdowns. The third is enduring effects on the composition of both supply and demand.

 “Unwinding COVID support measures for banks” (, Thorsten Beck, Elena Carletti and Brunella Bruno, March 19th, 2021). Support measures for banks were meant to create a virtuous circle between corporates, banks, and sovereigns, avoiding a funding crunch and keeping risk premiums at deflated levels. However, they also created the basis for possible increased systemic risk in the future. This column argues that the exit strategy from these measures must be carefully designed and coordinated, as well as clearly communicated.

 “The fiscal policy response to the pandemic” (Brookings, Christina D. Romer, March 24th, 2021). According to Christina Romer, the unique characteristics of a pandemic recession imply that fiscal policy during a pandemic should be geared towards helping those who are directly harmed by the crisis rather than towards stimulating increased aggregate demand generally. She therefore analyses the US pandemic stimulus in order to assess whether it will be effective in providing social insurance.

 “To compare the EU and US pandemic packages misses the point” (FT, Paschal Donohoe, March 29th, 2021). Paschal Donohoe, president of the Eurogroup and Ireland’s finance minister, explains how comparisons between the EU and US pandemic packages could understate the size and transformational nature of the historic efforts taken by the European Union to boost the economies of European countries. He underlines that this is not a race for the largest stimulus package because what matters are the positive outcomes that these are generating on livelihoods and living standards.


Let me remind you that credit is the lifeblood of business, the lifeblood of prices and jobs.

Herbert Hoover […]


Good health is essential to social and economical development and it empowers all of the public sectors.

World Health Organization […]


Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship. The act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth.

Peter Drucker […]

Human Capital

Talent is a source from which water flows constantly renewed. But this source loses its value unless it is properly used.

Ludwig Wittgenstein […]