How Economists Ignored the Spanish Flu Pandemic in 1918–20

Author: 
Mauro Boianovsky and Guido Erreygers
Publication Number: 
2021-01
Publication Date: 
Thursday, February 11, 2021

The current COVID-19 pandemic has attracted significant attention from epidemiologists and economists alike. This differs from the 1918-19 Spanish Influenza pandemic, when academic economists hardly paid attention to its economic features, despite its very high mortality toll. We examine the reasons for that, by contrasting the ways epidemiologists and economists reacted to the Spanish Flu at the time and retrospectively within the next 25 years or so. 

Affiliation: 
University of Brasilia (Boianovsky) and University of Antwerp (Erreygers)