Life expectancy reductions from New Zealand's unbalanced Covid response
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Gibson, J. (2021). Life expectancy reductions from New Zealand’s unbalanced Covid response. Presented at the 61st Annual Conference of the New Zealand Association of Economists, Wellington, New Zealand.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/14388
Safety-at-all-costs approaches may perversely increase mortality if indirect effects from lower incomes outweigh direct effects of the safety intervention. New Zealand’s output in 2020 was five percent less than expected, mainly due to responses to Covid-19. This output loss implies a life expectancy reduction of 0.9%; equivalent to two million fewer expected life years. Cross-country data show higher output losses, the more restrictive the early response to Covid-19 (New Zealand’s response was the most restrictive in the world at the time), controlling for economic structure. Yet more restrictive lockdowns did not reduce mortality in 2020. Perversely, New Zealand's response to Covid-19 may have reduced life expectancy.
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