NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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David O. Argente

Pennsylvania State University
Department of Economics
403 Kern Building
University Park
State College, PA 16801

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: Pennsylvania State University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

September 2020Measuring the Cost of Living in Mexico and the US
with Chang-Tai Hsieh, Munseob Lee: w27806
Cross-country price indexes are crucial to compare living standards between countries and to measure global inequality. An accurate measurement of these price indexes is a difficult task because of the lack of accurate data on the consumption patterns of different countries. We construct a unique data on prices and quantities for consumer packaged goods matched at the barcode-level across the United States and Mexico. We estimate that the Mexican real consumption relative to the United States is larger than previously estimated. We identify heterogeneity in shopping behavior, quality of products, and variety availability as important sources of bias in international price comparisons.
May 2020The Cost of Privacy: Welfare Effects of the Disclosure of COVID-19 Cases
with Chang-Tai Hsieh, Munseob Lee: w27220
South Korea publicly disclosed detailed location information of individuals that tested positive for COVID-19. We quantify the effect of public disclosure on the transmission of the virus and economic losses in Seoul. The change in commuting patterns due to public disclosure lowers the number of cases by 200 thousand and the number of deaths by 7.7 thousand in Seoul over two years. Compared to a city-wide lock-down that results in the same number of cases over two years as the disclosure scenario, the economic cost of such a lockdown is almost four times higher.
April 2020A Simple Planning Problem for COVID-19 Lockdown
with Fernando E. Alvarez, Francesco Lippi: w26981
We study the optimal lockdown policy for a planner who wants to control the fatalities of a pandemic while minimizing the output costs of the lockdown. We use the SIR epidemiology model and a linear economy to formalize the planner's dynamic control problem. The optimal policy depends on the fraction of infected and susceptible in the population. We parametrize the model using data on the COVID19 pandemic and the economic breadth of the lockdown. The quantitative analysis identifies the features that shape the intensity and duration of the optimal lockdown policy. Our baseline parametrization is conditional on a 1% of infected agents at the outbreak, no cure for the disease, and the possibility of testing. The optimal policy prescribes a severe lockdown beginning two weeks after the outbre...
 
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