University of Oulu

Pandemics, economics and resilience

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Author: Lappalainen, Joni1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu Business School, Department of Economics, Economics
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.1 MB)
Pages: 65
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : J. Lappalainen, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-05-22
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Koivuranta, Matti
Reviewer: Korhonen, Marko
Koivuranta, Matti


Pandemics and epidemics have occurred throughout human history, with significant impacts to both population and societies. Their economic impacts, however, have seen only limited research. Research has been limited by the lack of data and empirical evidence, due to the rarity of large-scale pandemics.

For this reason, the estimates about the economic impacts of pandemics that have been made have had to use a lot of assumptions and guesses. The subject of economic resilience to pandemics is largely untouched in past research, and parts of this thesis focus on that. It is an interesting concept that deserves further attention.

The current COVID-19 pandemic, caused by a coronavirus strain called SARS-CoV-2, has put the previous models and estimates to a test. The scale and speed of its economic impacts have been unprecedented and partly unexpected, with government spending and unemployment rising rapidly in many countries. The purpose of this thesis is to give the reader a background about both past pandemics and past research into the economic impacts of pandemics. Knowledge about past events and literature helps to understand both realised and potential economic impacts of the current pandemic. This thesis can also be used as a starting point for future research.

Different policies to stop the spread of the pandemic are reviewed from multiple perspectives, utilising previous and current research. There seems to be an optimal policy when considering economic, social and health impacts. Quick reaction with heavy restrictions on mobility combined with extensive testing seems to minimise the impacts in all three mentioned categories. Such actions aim to suppress the virus, minimising the length of the pandemic. With suppression as the policy, the overall resilience of a system is maximised, while risk to an individual is minimised.

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Copyright information: © Joni Lappalainen, 2020. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.