New discussion paper from Lucas Bretschger and Elise Grieg (ETH Zürich) and Paul Welfens and Tian Xiong (EIIW/University of Wuppertal)

12.06.2020|12:41 Uhr

Bretschger, L.; Grieg, E.; Welfens, P.J.J.; Xiong, T.: Corona Fatality Development, Medical Indicators and the Environment: Empirical Evidence for OECD Countries

JEL classification: F00, F01, I18, Q50

Key words: Coronavirus Pandemic, Case Fatalities, OECD Countries, Health Systems, Economic Development, Policy


This paper presents empirical results on coronavirus fatality rates from cross-country regressions for OECD countries. We include medical, environmental and policy variables in our analysis to explain the death rates when holding case rates constant. We find that the share of the aged population, obesity rates, and local air pollution levels have a positive effect on fatality rates across the different estimation equations, while the share of smokers is not significant in most specifications. The strategy of aiming to achieve herd immunity has a significant positive effect on death rates. Other medical and policy variables discussed in the public sphere do not show a significant impact in our regressions. An evaluation of the different policy stringencies yields mixed results. Our results suggest that improving local air quality helps reduce the negative effects of a coronavirus pandemic significantly. Moreover, we conclude that contributions to certain multilateral organizations’, including the WHO, should not only refer to standard elements of payments such as income (or trade) but also to the share of the population aged 65 years and over and PM2.5 indicators.

Deutsche Zusammenfassung

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