Economics and Epidemics: Evidence from an Estimated Spatial Econ-SIR Model
Economic analysis of effective policies for managing epidemics requires an integrated economic and epidemiological approach. We develop and estimate a spatial, micro-founded model of the joint evolution of economic variables and the spread of an epidemic. We empirically discipline the model using new U.S. county-level data on health, mobility, employment outcomes, and non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) at a daily frequency. Absent policy or medical interventions, the model predicts an initial period of exponential growth in new cases, followed by a protracted period of roughly constant ...
Ten Days Late and Billions of Dollars Short: The Employment Effects of Delays in Paycheck Protection Program Financing
Delay in the provision of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans due to insufficient initial funding under the CARES Act substantially and persistently reduced employment. Delayed loans increased job losses in May and persistently reduced recalls throughout the summer. The magnitude and heterogeneity of effects suggest significant barriers to obtaining external financing, particularly among small firms. Effects are inequitably distributed: larger among the self-employed, less well paid, less well educated and--importantly for the design of future programs--in very small firms. Our estimates ...
What are Banks Doing to Address the Impacts of COVID-19 on LMI Communities? Early Approaches to Addressing the Crisis
Lessons from history show that those who are most disadvantaged before a disaster are likely to be most vulnerable during a disaster as well as on the road to recovery. As the novel coronavirus continues to spread, we are witnessing heavy impacts on low- and moderate-income communities as small businesses shutter, workers are laid off, and more and more households find themselves in unexpected financial circumstances. Low-income individuals and households are more vulnerable to illness and potential economic disruption for a variety of reasons, including lower availability of paid sick leave ...
The Fog of Numbers
In times of economic turbulence, revisions to GDP data can be sizable, which makes conducting economic policy in real time during a crisis more difficult. A simple model based on Okun’s law can help refine the advance data release of real GDP growth to provide an improved reading of economic activity in real time. Applying this to data from the Great Recession explains some of the massive GDP revisions at that time. This could provide a guide for possible revisions to GDP releases during the current coronavirus crisis.
The Illusion of Wage Growth
Despite a sharp spike in unemployment since March 2020, aggregate wage growth has accelerated. This acceleration has been almost entirely attributable to job losses among low-wage workers. Wage growth for those who remain employed has been flat. This pattern is not unique to COVID-19 but is more profound now than in previous recessions. This means that, in the wake of the virus, evaluations of the labor market must rely on a dashboard of indicators, rather than any single measure, to paint a complete picture of the losses and the recovery.
Small Business Lending during COVID-19
Small businesses and farms were hit hard by restrictions that limited their ability to pay operating costs during the COVID-19 crisis. Banks played an important supportive role, substantially expanding the loans available to these firms during the early months of the crisis. The growth in lending was associated with small business participation in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and bank use of the PPP Liquidity Facility. Analyzing data for the first half of 2020 suggests that these programs were successful in supporting lending growth during the crisis, particularly among small banks.
Parental Participation in a Pandemic Labor Market
Gender gaps in labor market outcomes during the pandemic largely reflect differences in parents’ experiences. Labor force participation fell much less for fathers compared with other men and all women at the onset of the pandemic; the recovery has been more pronounced for men and women without children. Meanwhile, labor force participation among mothers declined with the start of the school year. Evidence suggests flexibility in setting work schedules can offset some of the adverse impact on mothers’ employment, while the ability to work from home does not.
Small Business Lending Under the PPP and PPPLF Programs
We examine the effects of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the PPP Liquidity Facility (PPPLF) on small business lending. The PPP was launched under the CARES Act of March 2020 to provide support for small businesses under the COVID-19 pandemic, while the PPPLF was an affiliated program administered by the Federal Reserve to facilitate the maintenance of liquidity among banks participating in the PPP. We use Call Report data to examine the contributions of these two programs on small business and farm lending by individual commercial banks in the United States. As participation in the ...
Housing Markets in a Time of Crisis: A Historical Perspective
As the coronavirus (Covid-19) public health crisis unfolds, a second crisis in the economy is developing as well. One economic concern, among many, is the debt burden of households. Early reports point to a surge in unemployment claims during March 2020, raising the prospect that widespread unemployment is likely to impair the ability of households to make payments on their home mortgages and other loans in the months ahead. This represents a potential crisis in mortgage markets, as borrowers who are temporarily unemployed—but for an unknown period—may face default on their mortgages.
How Much Did the Minimum Wage Drive Real Wage Growth During the Late 2010s?
For much of the recent expansion, real wage growth was surprisingly sluggish, by some measures never reaching its pace prior to the 2008 financial crisis, despite tight labor markets that drove the unemployment rate to 3.5%. However, on average, the lowest-earning workers fared substantially better, consistently experiencing real wage growth of 6% or more for much of the late 2010s, a pace well above the previous two decades.