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As medical professionals work to heal those afflicted by the coronavirus, financial professionals are diagnosing COVID-19’s prospects to cause a global recession. In this sobering assessment, economist Austan Goolsbee provides an overview of how the contagion’s economic impacts could be signficantly greater in the United States than they are in China.

Summary

The spread of coronavirus in the United States and other advanced economies has the potential to inflict severe human and economic damage. 

COVID-19 originated in China and spread broadly and rapidly througout the country. Enforced quarantines appear to have met the challenge of slowing the virus’s advance there, but the shuttering of factories and other businesses has led to decimated supplies of basic commodities and a massive output slowdown. 

In the United States, the economic impact could be different. In advanced economies, consumption and the service sector play an outsized role in GDP, so any disruptions in people’s ability to interact will have more significant economic repercussions. In the United ...

About the Author

Austan Goolsbee is an economics professor at the University of Chicago.


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