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Life Expectancy During the Covid-19 Pandemic: A Semi-Parametric Difference-in-Differences Analysis

Polemis, Michael and Stengos, Thanasis (2020): Life Expectancy During the Covid-19 Pandemic: A Semi-Parametric Difference-in-Differences Analysis.

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The scope of this note is to investigate the causal effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on life expectancy over a sample of 47 countries split into two groups. The first one includes countries that have adopted general lockdown measures (treatment group), while the second one consists of countries that have imposed social distancing measures other than a national lockdown (control group). The investigated period starts from the first confirmed European case back (25.01.2020) until 28.07.2020 and covers the first wave of the pandemic for the sample countries. The empirical results based on a Semi-Parametric Difference-in-Differences framework, suggest a decline in life expectancy at birth estimated to 1.38 years on average even though the countries who did implement the lockdown measures were motivated and willing to do so. However, the decrease in life expectancy would have been double (2.9 years) in the absence of such willingness to adopt the policy. Lastly, the findings support the argument that national lockdown would be an effective policy tool to the hands of regulators and health practitioners to mitigate the negative effects of the pandemic infection it is pursued by motivated and willing participant countries.

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