This time truly is different

Carmen Reinhart  |  Harvard University  |  24 March 2020

While pandemics are comparatively rare, and severe ones rarer still, I am not aware of a historical episode that can provide any insight as to the likely economic consequences of the unfolding global coronavirus crisis. This time truly is different.

A key feature of this episode that makes it unique is the policy response. Governments around the world are giving priority to measures that limit the spread of disease and save lives, including the complete lockdown of a region (as in China) and even of entire countries (Italy, Spain, and France, for example). A much longer list of countries, including...

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