Toronto – The COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed a firehose of information (much of it wrong) and an avalanche of opinions (many of them ill-founded). Most of us are so distracted by the everyday awfulness that we don't see the broader issues in play. A new book from Joshua Gans, an economist and professor at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, steps back from the short-term chaos to take a clear and systematic look at how economic choices are being made in response to COVID-19. He shows that containing the virus and pausing the economy, without letting businesses fail and people lose their jobs, are the necessary first steps.
In Economics in the Age of COVID-19, from The MIT Press, Prof. Gans outlines the phases of the pandemic economy, from containment to reset to recovery and enhancement. Warning against thinking in terms of a “tradeoff” between public health and economic health, he explains that containment gives us the opportunity to develop effective testing that will make it safe for people to interact. Once the virus is contained, we will need to pivot toward innovating, and, finally, we will come together to plan how to protect ourselves from future pandemics. He looks at policy tools that might aid an economic recovery, distinguishing between economic losses during a pandemic and a recession.
Prof. Gans lays out the economic choices accessibly but with urgency, leaving politics out of it.
Joshua S.Gans is a professor of strategic management and holder of the Jeffrey S. Skoll Chair in of Technical Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Rotman School, where he is also Chief Economist of the Creative Destruction Lab. With varied research interests, he has developed specialities in the nature of technological competition and innovation, economic growth, publishing economics, industrial organisation and regulatory economics. He publishes frequently in leading journals in economics and strategy. He is a co-author of Prediction Machines: The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence, published in 2018 by Harvard Business Review Press and Innovation + Equality: How to Create a Future That Is More Star Trek Than Terminator published in 2019 by The MIT Press. He is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and a department editor at Management Science.
Further details on the book are online at https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/economics-age-covid-19.
The Rotman School of Management is part of the University of Toronto, a global centre of research and teaching excellence at the heart of Canada’s commercial capital. Rotman is a catalyst for transformative learning, insights and public engagement, bringing together diverse views and initiatives around a defining purpose: to create value for business and society. For more information, visit www.rotman.utoronto.ca.
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