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Can countries balance trade-off between saving lives and economic recovery? Updated: 2020-05-06 05:36:54 KST

We begin a discussion with two economists from around the world.
While the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, having infected more than three.five million people globally, businesses everywhere have been losing money and workers their jobs.
Governments have been itching to ease their lockdowns to restart their economies President Trump, for one, having said the cure cannot be worse than the problem but this has caused concern over whether public health should be compromised.
From early May, as some of the worst-affected nations have started loosening lockdown measures, we look at this trade-off between preventing further sickness and protecting livelihoods.
For this, we have joining us Dr. Neale Mahoney, Professor of Economics and Co-director of the Becker Friedman Institute Health Economics Initiative at the University of Chicago.
And Dr. Warwick McKibbin, Professor of Public Policy at Australian National University and Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, who is internationally renowned for his global economic modeling.

Dr. Mahoney: Economists like yourself count the cost versus benefit but the choice is always political. In this case, when it comes down to choosing between health or people's livelihoods, it seems like an impossible decision to make. But you've called this a false dilemma. Could you elaborate on that?

Dr. McKibbin: Is it the right economic decision to ease lockdown measures and social distancing in parts of the world like the U.S. or continental Europe where thousands of people are still being infected by COVID-19?

Dr. Mahoney: What kind of risks should policymakers consider before resuming economic activities and letting people back to work?

Dr. McKibbin: The economic fallout caused by the virus seems to be greater than you predicted, in terms of GDP growth projections. How much worse do you think it could get for the global economy and which countries will suffer the most?

Dr. Mahoney: Health authorities have warned a second wave of COVID-19 may come in Autumn. Should we continue social distancing and how much can social distancing actually benefit the economy?

Dr. McKibbin: What are some permanent changes you expect to see to the global economy in the aftermath of this pandemic?

To both: What course of action do you hope to see from economic policy makers to help public health and the economy recover hand in hand?

That's all we have time for today. It's been a great discussion. Dr. Neale Mahoney, Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago and Dr. Warwick McKibbin, Professor of Public Policy at Australian National University thank you for joining the program.


Reporter : osy@arirang.com
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