RIETI Report January 14 2022

RIETI Approach to COVID-19

Dear Readers,
Welcome to RIETI Report.
This bi-weekly newsletter will keep you updated with the recent columns, event information and research results by RIETI fellows and other leading economists in Japan and around the world.

In this edition, we introduce RIETI's research focusing on COVID-19, launched in April 2020. Since then, we have published over 60 discussion papers on COVID-19 from various perspectives. As Japan is showing signs of a "sixth wave" as the highly contagious Omicron variant is spreading fast, it might be worthwhile to plan ahead based on the past research related to COVID-19.
We hope you will enjoy it. If you have any feedback, we would love to hear from you.
Editors of RIETI Report (Facebook: @en.RIETI / Twitter: @RIETIenglish / URL: https://www.rieti.go.jp/en/)

This month's featured article

RIETI Approach to COVID-19

MORIKAWA MasayukiPresident, RIETI

Response of economics to COVID-19 crisis

The COVID-19 crisis is historically a unique shock that differs from any past economic crisis. While COVID-19 vaccines and drugs have been developed and diffused, no signs are in sight of an end to the COVID-19 pandemic, with new variants emerging. The pandemic will likely to stay with us in 2022.

The COVID-19 crisis features (1) tradeoffs between health and economic activities, (2) heterogeneity of impacts by sector and (3) high uncertainties. While restrictions on outings and mobility to suppress infections bring about a decline in economic activities at least over the short term, conventional economic stimulus measures lead to an increase in infections. While past great shocks including the oil shock and the Global Financial Crisis heavily affected manufacturers, the COVID-19 crisis exerted serious impacts on the services industry where person-to-person contacts are indispensable. The COVID-19 crisis also brought about unparalleled uncertainties to firms, households, and other economic agents.

Economists throughout the world have proactively tackled the new challenge. Economic papers handling the COVID-19 pandemic have increased progressively. Numerous academic journals have published special issues covering the pandemic. In Japan, the Japanese Economic Association has created a special website for COVID-19 research papers. Its Japanese Economic Review has published two special issues focusing on the pandemic.

RIETI for its part has focused on COVID-19 research under its fifth medium-term plan launched in April 2020. As of this writing, RIETI has published some 60 discussion papers on COVID-19, and about 20 papers have already been peer-reviewed and published or scheduled to be published in academic journals.

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