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Alex Mihailov (Virtual Seminar)
Title: Quantifying the macroeconomic effects of the COVID-19 lockdown: Comparative simulations of the estimated Galí-Smets-Wouters model
Abstract: This paper considers 3 scenarios regarding the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, staying for 1, 2 or 3 quarters, and 2 types of exceptionally rare and devastating disruptions in employment modeled as adverse labour supply shocks, a temporary one without loss in the labour force due to deaths or a permanent one, with deaths. The temporary labour supply shock simulations delimit a lower bound, designed to match about 1/4 of the labour force unable to work, and an upper bound, matching about 3/4 of the labour force made economically inactive, broadly consistent with estimates. The permanent labour supply shock is designed to match, in 3 scenarios again, up to 1% loss of the labour force due to mortality, twice milder than the Spanish flu 2% death rate. Estimated calibrations of the Galí-Smets-Wouters (2012) model for 5 major and most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic economies are simulated: the US, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. The simulations suggest that even in the most optimistic scenario of a brief (lasting for 1 quarter) and mild (with 1/4 of the labour force unable to work) lockdown, the loss of per-capita consumption (6-7% in annualised terms down from the long-run trend in the impact quarter) and per-capita output (3-4% down) will be quite damaging, but recoverable relatively quickly, in 1-2 years. In the most pessimistic simulated scenario of temporary loss the effects will be 10-15 times more devastating, and the loss of output and consumption will persist beyond 10-15 years. Permanent loss of up to 1.5 percentage points of per-capita consumption and output characterises the simulated permanent labour supply shock.