08.04.2020 Our research on coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
Following working papers present the preliminary research results of joint studies of Prof. Farzanegan and his colleagues from Ferdowsi University of Mashhad (Iran) and Swinburne University of Technology (Australia):
1. Globalization and Outbreak of COVID-19: An Empirical Analysis:
The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between globalization, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases, and associated deaths in more than 100 countries. Our ordinary least squares multivariate regressions show that countries with higher levels of socio-economic globalization are exposed moretoCOVID-19 outbreak. Nevertheless, globalization cannot explain cross-country differences in COVID-19 confirmed deaths. The fatalities of coronavirus are mostly explained by cross-country variation in health infrastructures (e.g., share of out of pocket spending on health per capita and the number of hospital beds) and demographic structure (e.g., share of population beyond 65 years old in total population) of countries. Our least squares results are robust to controlling outliers and regional dummies. This finding provides the first empirical insight on the robust determinants of COVID-19 outbreak and its human costs across countries.
2. Google It Up! A Google Trend-based Analysis of COVID-19 Outbreak in Iran:
Soon after the first identified COVID-19 cases in Iran, the spread of the new Coronavirus has affected almost all its provinces. In the absence of credible data on people's unfiltered concerns and needs, especially in developing countries, Google search data is a reliable source that truthfully captures the public sentiment. This study examines the within province changes of confirmed cases of Corona across Iranian provinces from 19 Feb. 2020 to 9 March 2020. Using real-time Google Trends data, panel fixed effects, and GMM regression estimations, we show a robust negative association between the intensity of search for disinfection methods and materials in the past and current confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus. In addition, we find a positive and robust association between the intensity of the searches for symptoms of Corona and the number of confirmed cases within the Iranian provinces. These findings are robust to control for province and period fixed effects, province-specific time trends, and lag of confirmed cases. Our results show how not only prevention could hinder affection in an epidemic disease but also prophecies, shaped by individual concerns and reflected in Google search queries, might not be self-fulfilling.
3. COVID-19 Outbreak and Air Pollution in Iran: A Panel VAR Analysis:
The new Coronavirus pandemic has extensive negative socioeconomic impacts. However, its effects on climate change and in particular air pollution, at least at the beginning of the outbreak, is not clear. Fear of getting the Coronavirus in crowded public spaces increased the use of personal cars, while prevention policies that seek to decrease population movement reduced their usage. This paper investigates the relationship between the outbreak of COVID-19, measured by the number of infected cases, and air pollution, measured by PM2.5, in 31Iranian provinces over the 19 February 2020 to 11 March 2020 period. We employ a panel vector autoregressive (PVAR) approach along with impulse response functions (IRFs), variance decomposition, and Granger causality tests. The analysis shows negative responses of the PM pollution to positive shock in COVID-19 cases in Iran.