Historical evidence for economic effects of COVID-19

Eur J Health Econ. 2020 Aug;21(6):817-823. doi: 10.1007/s10198-020-01206-8.


Like wars and socio-politic shifts, contagious diseases have changed the economics and politics of the world throughout history. In 2020, the world faced COVID-19, a globally effective virus leading to mass losses and socio-economic panic. Due to apparent psycho-social conditions, analyzing the potential economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic was inevitable. Thus, discussing economic effects of previous global and regional epidemics is considered beneficial. This research evaluated most of the known epidemics and their effects on economics and socio-politics by reviewing scientific literature. In addition to the vast literature and observations on the ongoing process, we assessed the potential impacts of COVID-19 and potential ways to overcome these impacts. The most urgent socio-economic measures needed to combat the negative effects of a contagious disease are related to unemployment with its income effects and security of all sectors. To prevent persistent unemployment, service, retail, and even industrial sectors need to be supported. Additionally, we discussed the need for re-organizing the funding and managerial sustainability of healthcare services to be prepared for future.

Keywords: Budget; COVID-19; Consumption; Healthcare; Income; Labour market.

Publication types

  • Editorial
  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Communicable Diseases / economics*
  • Communicable Diseases / history*
  • Coronavirus Infections / economics*
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • History, Medieval
  • Humans
  • Pandemics / economics*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / economics*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Politics
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Unemployment