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Economic modelling of COVID-19 scenarios

Economic modelling of COVID-19 scenarios

Credit: Kriedemann.

Early in the pandemic, in March 2020, researchers Professor Warwick McKibbin and Roshen Fernando in the ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR), based at The Australian National University, produced the first wide-ranging global economic assessment of the effects of Coronavirus disease. Their goal was to help policymakers prepare a coordinated response to the economic costs of a pandemic as the virus rapidly evolved.

The research modelled seven scenarios of the impact of the coronavirus on the world economy. The scenarios ranged from containing COVID-19 in mid-2020 to ongoing waves of the virus over several years.

The researchers estimated the global economy could lose up to $US21.8 trillion dollars in 2020 alone due to COVID-19. Professor McKibbin said even under the best-case scenario the global economy would lose up to $US14.7 trillion dollars.

To display their results, the researchers created an online dashboard, the COVID-19 Macroeconomic Modelling Results Dashboard. It also examines other key economic impacts of COVID-19 including the impact on government spending, wage subsidies and household transfers, country risk assessments and potential rates for mortality (the proportion of total population who dies) and morbidity (people incapacitated or caring for the incapacitated and unable to work).

This research was updated in July and August 2020 as more data on the pandemic became available.

Throughout 2020, and up to the present, researchers at CEPAR, which is administered by The University of New South Wales, have continued to release modelling and conduct research into how the pandemic has been affecting Australia and the world, and in particular older people.


The arc centre of excellence in population ageing research has been bringing together academics, government and industry representatives to discuss the implications for pensions, superannuation and retirement in a post-COVID-19 world.


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