New Research on COVID-19

New Mercatus research from the week of April 13-17

Public Sector Pensions and the COVID-19 Shock

Andrew G. Biggs and Eileen Norcross | Policy Brief

The COVID-19 pandemic was largely unforeseen, but one effect was predictable: that an economic shock would push a number of state and local pension plans to dangerously low funding levels, requiring more government resources at a time when states and localities can’t afford it or prioritize it. In this brief, Andrew G. Biggs and Eileen Norcross review the reasons states have avoided more significant stabilizing reforms. They propose a way forward for governments to bring risk management in line with the realities of public sector pension plans, to improve fiscal stability for states, and to increase government accountability and transparency.

A Fresh Start: How to Address Regulations Suspended during the Coronavirus Crisis

Patrick McLaughlin, Matthew D. Mitchell, Adam Thierer | Policy Brief

As the COVID-19 crisis intensified, policymakers at all levels have called for the suspension of certain laws and regulations hindering timely and efficient responses to the pandemic. But this raises many questions, all leading back to one: were these regulations really necessary before the crisis?

This crisis has exposed many obsolete and often contradictory rules and regulations that have many it difficult for people and organizations to respond effectively. In a new policy brief, Patrick McLaughlin, Matthew D. Mitchell, and Adam Thierer take a look at why some of these rules and regulations have been suspended and explore how the COVID-19 crisis can serve as the occasion to advocate for reform or removal of regulations that benefit the few over the many.

COVID-19 Policy Response Proposal: Macro-Prudential Economic Interruption Insurance

Patrick Wolff and Jason Tepperman | Policy Brief

The 2020 global COVID-19 pandemic has compelled countries around the world to implement widespread and long-term shelter-in-place programs in order to reduce disease transmission and save lives. The experience of implementing these policies will undoubtedly have economic impacts that leave many businesses with their economic future uncertain or at risk. 

This policy proposal addresses the development of a planned economic program referred to as macro-prudential economic interruption insurance. This framework will not only sustain shelter-in-place programs when necessary during this pandemic, but can also be a policy prescription applicable to future crises should they arise. Patrick Wolff and Jason Tepperman explain how this insurance provided by the government would offset the imposed interruption of normal commerce by helping to provide more economic certainty to businesses and by minimizing the total economic losses incurred.