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Key lessons from Sweden’s Covid response

Sweden’s unique response to the pandemic means that it has acted as a control experiment for economists and epidemiologists alike. We suspect that its economy would have shrunk by an additional 3-4%-points in the first half of the year if it had followed a similar approach to Germany. But this economic gain came at a human cost, albeit one which is difficult to quantify. A post-mortem of Sweden’s experience offers insights into the costs and benefits of different approaches to a second wave of the virus, one of which is that - even in the absence of a legal lockdown - behavioural changes will impose a heavy economic cost if the virus picks up again.

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