A yellow-green cover and a picture of a hand holding a pen


Corona kiki, Keizaigakusha no chousen (COVID-19 Crisis: A Tale of Two Economists)


NAKATA Taisuke, FUJII Daisuke (authors)


296 pages, 127x188mm




September, 2022



Published by

Nippon Hyoron sha co., Ltd

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Corona kiki, Keizaigakusha no chousen

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I am a macroeconomist specializing in the theoretical analysis of monetary policy. Yet, due to a series of unexpected events, I somehow ended up providing various data analyses—from infection simulations to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on people’s lives and the Japanese economy—to policymakers in Japan in 2021 and 2022. This book—based on a series of interviews from June 2021 to March 2022—discusses how my research team (jointly managed with my colleague Daisuke Fujii) got involved in the COVID-19 policy analysis, the key takeaways from some of our analyses, and how we communicated our analyses to infectious disease experts, policymakers, and media.
The book consists of nine chapters. In the first two chapters (“An Endeavour by Two Economists” and “Providing an Outlook for COVID-19 Infection and the Economy”), we discuss the onset of our project as well as the analysis of when to lift the state-of-emergency order in Tokyo, an analysis that attracted attention from the government and media early 2021. In Chapter 3 (“Interaction with Infectious Disease Experts”), we discuss how we—mathematical economists without any previous experience with infectious disease modeling—got involved in the business of providing infection simulations to infectious disease experts. In Chapter 4 (“Building and Managing a Big Research Team”), we discuss how we built a large research team in a short amount of time and managed it. In Chapter 5 (“The Tokyo Olympic Games: Behind the Scenes”), we discuss our analysis of how the Tokyo Olympic Games may affect infection situations in Tokyo as well as how we communicated that analysis to policymakers and the general public.
In Chapter 6 (“Interaction with Media”), we discuss how we ended up explaining our analyses directly to media as well as our guiding principles in interacting with media. In Chapter 7 (“Interaction with Policymakers”), we discuss what analysis we provided to which policymakers when. We also discuss lessons researchers may want to keep in mind when they provide a briefing to top-level policymakers—such as Prime Ministers, Ministers, or Prefecture Governors. In Chapters 8 and 9 (“Possible Side-effects of Infection Mitigation Measures” and “Balancing Infection Control and Economic Activities”), we discuss our analyses of how the COVID-19 crisis affected the Japanese society and economy, the difficulty of making policy decisions in the presence of a tradeoff, and how researchers can contribute to policy in such an environment.
At the end of each chapter, we present interviews with several infectious disease experts, policymakers, and TV/newspaper reporters who have frequently consulted our analyses. From these interviews, readers may be able to sense the trace of a sense of urgency that existed in Japanese society during the COVID-19 crisis.
This book is of interest to those who are curious about policy-making processes during the COVID-19 crisis and how our society should balance infection control and economic activities in future pandemics. It is also of interest to those who are curious more broadly about EBPM (“Evidence-Based Policy Making”) and science/policy communication beyond the COVID-19 crisis or pandemics.

(Written by NAKATA Taisuke, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Economics / 2024)

Related Info

Balancing Infection Prevention and Economic Activity
Covid-19 and Output in Japan

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