COVID-19 Mortality and Economic Losses: the Role of Policies and Structural Conditions

Weichen Wang, Andrea Gurgone, Humberto Martinez, Maria Cristina Barbieri Goes, Ettore Gallo, Adam Kerenyi, Enrico Maria Turco, Carla Coburger, Pedra Dariclea Santos Andrade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (SciVal)


The response of governments to the COVID-19 outbreak was foremost oriented to two objectives: saving lives and limiting economic losses. However, the effectiveness and success factors of interventions were unknown ex-ante. This study aims to shed light on the drivers of countries’ performances during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. We measure performances by excess mortality and GDP growth adjusted for additional fiscal stimulus. We conduct an empirical analysis in two stages: first, using hierarchical clustering, we partition countries based on their similarity in health and economic outcomes. Second, we identify the key drivers of outcomes in each country cluster by regression analysis, which include linear, least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO), and logit models. We argue that differences in countries’ performances can be traced back both to policy responses to COVID-19 and structural conditions, the latter being immutable over the pandemic. Three relevant structural conditions emerge from the results: trade reliance on services, corruption, and the size of the vulnerable population (elderly, low-income, smoking, or cardiovascular-failing). Policies such as large-scale open public testing and additional fiscal stimulus in non-health could help reduce excess mortality, which might lead to lower economic losses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number354
JournalJournal of Risk and Financial Management
Issue number8
Early online date8 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the 2021 Extended Problem-Solving Workshop held virtually at the Fields Institute, University of Toronto, 5–23 April 2021. The article processing charges were partly funded by the Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Institute of World Economics (CERS). Adám Kerényi is grateful for the support of this research, which was carried out in the framework of the National Research, Development and Innovation Office—NKFIH, K 128682 project.


  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • covid economics
  • health policy
  • resilience
  • system recovery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Accounting
  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)


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