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Jel Classification:I19 

Working Paper
What Happened to the US Economy During the 1918 Influenza Pandemic? A View Through High-Frequency Data

Burns and Mitchell (1946, 109) found a recession of "exceptional brevity and moderate amplitude." I confirm their judgment by examining a variety of high-frequency data. Industrial output fell sharply but rebounded within months. Retail seemed little affected and there is no evidence of increased business failures or stressed financial system. Cross-sectional data from the coal industry documents the short-lived impact of the epidemic on labor supply. The Armistice possibly prolonged the 1918 recession, short as it was, by injecting momentary uncertainty. Interventions to hinder the contagion ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2020-11

Working Paper
Even one is too much: the economic consequences of being a smoker

It is well known that smoking leads to lower wages. However, the mechanism of this negative relationship is not well understood. This analysis includes a decomposition of the wage gap between smokers and nonsmokers, with a variety of definitions of smoking status designed to reflect differences in smoking intensity. This paper finds that nearly two-thirds of the 24 percent selectivity-corrected smoking/nonsmoking wage differential derives from differences in characteristics between smokers and nonsmokers. These results suggest that it is not differences in productivity that drive the smoking ...
FRB Atlanta Working Paper , Paper 2013-03

Discussion Paper
COVID-19 International Evidence: Some Notable Puzzles

This article uses international evidence to argue that we still have limited knowledge about the efficacy of widely used preventive actions, such as social distancing and face masks, in containing the spread of the novel COVID-19 virus. I document three puzzles. One, Peru enacted unprecedented lockdowns early in the pandemic, which led to a record contraction in economic activity. The country’s residents also adopted near-universal face mask usage. None of these actions, however, prevented Peru from experiencing the world’s highest per capita mortality rate from the virus. Second, ...
Policy Hub , Paper 2020-14

Working Paper
What Happened to the US Economy During the 1918 Influenza Pandemic? A View Through High-Frequency Data

Burns and Mitchell (1946, 109) found a recession of “exceptional brevity and moderate amplitude.” I confirm their judgment by examining a variety of high-frequency, aggregate and cross-sectional data. Industrial output fell sharply but rebounded within months. Retail seemed little affected and there is no evidence of increased business failures or stressed financial system. Cross-sectional data on manufacturing employment indicates that most of the recession, brief as it was, was due to the Armistice rather than the epidemic. Data from the nationwide coal industry documents the sharp but ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2020-11

Discussion Paper
Money Aggregates, Debt, Pent-Up Demand, and Inflation: Evidence from WWII

The COVID-19 pandemic produced a massive decline in U.S. consumption in 2020 and swift fiscal and monetary responses. After growing at a rather steady 5 percent rate for decades, the moneysupply (M2) increased 25 percent over the past year alongside unprecedented fiscal support, raising some inflationary concerns. Concurrent with the reopening of the economy as vaccines roll out, this article derives some lessons from the U.S. experience during and after WWII. The debt-to-GDP ratio increased from 40 percent to 110 percent because of the war effort. Most of it was financed by Fed debt ...
Policy Hub , Paper 2021-04

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