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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter November 11, 2021

Conceptualizing the Cost of COVID Policy: The Role of Institutional Trade-Offs

Vincent Geloso EMAIL logo
From the journal The Economists’ Voice


In this short article, I summarize recent research in economic history that suggests long-run institutional trade-offs in public health that affect both health and economic outcomes. These trade-offs suggest that a long timespan is necessary to fully measure the consequences of heavy-handed public health interventions. This timespan means that those who have declared “victory” or “defeat” in the wake of COVID policy are premature. Modesty in terms of policy evaluation and prescription is still warranted.

Corresponding author: Vincent Geloso, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA, E-mail:


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Received: 2021-09-10
Accepted: 2021-11-01
Published Online: 2021-11-11

© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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