The Economic Edge for Smarter Trading

The Economics of the Coronavirus: Is It Different This Time?

Lightspeed customers can learn about the economics of the coronavirus with Mark Schug and Bill Wood.

The coronavirus dominates the news. The coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and has now been detected in 37 locations internationally, including cases in the United States. On January 30, 2020, the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern.”

Much of China’s economy has been idled. Supply chains are frozen. Other countries are implementing quarantines and travel restrictions. The travel industry and tourism are taking a big hit. The markets have lost thousands of points, returning asset prices to their October levels.

What can we learn about the economic impacts from similar outbreaks in the past? What was the economic impact of SARS? What about ZIKA virus or the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918? Is it different this time?

What tools from economics and finance can we use to understand the economic impact of the coronavirus?

GDP is our primary measure of our economic health. How exactly will the coronavirus pandemic affect US and world GDP? Monetary policy is often used to soften economic shocks. What role might it play?

Finally, what is the smart word on the street? Is this time to shift out of stocks, as many are doing? Or, is it an opportunity to buy?

Mark C. Schug is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he directed the Center for Economic Education. He taught for 36 years at the middle school, high school, and university levels. A widely recognized scholar, he has written and edited more than 230 articles, books, and national curriculum materials. He has received national awards for leadership and research in economic education from the Council on Economic Education and for service from the Association of Private Enterprise Education. He has been the guest co-editor of 11 special economics sections in Social Education, the flagship journal of the National Council for the Social Studies. He has served on several nonprofit boards, including the national Association of Private Enterprise Education, Business and Economics Academy of Milwaukee (BEAM); Economics Wisconsin; Wisconsin Council for the Social Studies; and the Wisconsin Governor’s Council on Financial Literacy.

William C. Wood is a Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for Economic Education at James Madison University. Wood was the recipient of teaching awards at the University of Virginia and at James Madison University and has been chosen as one of the 300 best professors nationally by the Princeton Review. In 2002, Wood was an inaugural winner of the Southern Economic Association’s Kenneth G. Elzinga Distinguished Teaching Award. In 2016, Wood received the top research award given by the National Association of Economic Educators, the Henry H. Villard Award. He is the author of five books, more than 60 scholarly articles, and national economic education materials for school-age and adult audiences.

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