Forecasting the propagation of pandemic shocks with a dynamic input-output model

13 October 2022

Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control

Anton Pichler, Marco Pangallo, R. Maria del Rio-Chanona, François Lafond & J. Doyne Farmer

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We introduce a dynamic disequilibrium input-output model that was used to forecast the economics of the COVID-19 pandemic. This model was designed to understand the upstream and downstream propagation of the industry-specific demand and supply shocks caused by COVID-19, which were exceptional in their severity, suddenness and heterogeneity across industries. The model, which was inspired in part by previous work on the response to natural disasters, includes the introduction of a new functional form for production functions, which allowed us to create bespoke production functions for each industry based on a survey of industry analysts. We also introduced new elements for modeling inventories, consumption and labor. The resulting model made accurate real-time forecasts for the decline of sectoral and aggregate economic activity in the United Kingdom in the second quarter of 2020. We examine some of the theoretical implications of our model and find that the choice of production functions and inventory levels plays a key role in the propagation of pandemic shocks. Our work demonstrates that an out of equilibrium model calibrated against national accounting data can serve as a useful real time policy evaluation and forecasting tool.