How Economists Ignored the Spanish Flu Pandemic in 1918–20

Center for the History of Political Economy at Duke University Working Paper Series, 2021

35 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2021 Last revised: 3 May 2021

See all articles by Mauro Boianovsky

Mauro Boianovsky

Universidade de Brasilia

Guido Erreygers

University of Antwerp; Centre for Health Policy, University of melbourne

Date Written: February 11, 2021

Abstract

The current COVID-19 pandemic has attracted significant attention from epidemiologists and economists alike. This differs from the 1918-19 Spanish Influenza pandemic, when academic economists hardly paid attention to its economic features, despite its very high mortality toll. We examine the reasons for that, by contrasting the ways epidemiologists and economists reacted to the Spanish Flu at the time and retrospectively within the next 25 years or so.

Keywords: Spanish Influenza, economists, business cycles, epidemiologists, labour supply

JEL Classification: B19, B49, I19

Suggested Citation

Boianovsky, Mauro and Erreygers, Guido, How Economists Ignored the Spanish Flu Pandemic in 1918–20 (February 11, 2021). Center for the History of Political Economy at Duke University Working Paper Series, 2021, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3783854 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3783854

Mauro Boianovsky (Contact Author)

Universidade de Brasilia ( email )

Brasilia, DF 70910-900
Brazil

Guido Erreygers

University of Antwerp ( email )

Prinsstraat 13
Antwerp, B-2000
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.uantwerpen.be/guido.erreygers/

Centre for Health Policy, University of melbourne ( email )

4/207 Bouverie Street
Parkville, Victoria
Australia

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