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PLoS One ; 17(1): e0262337, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1662439


The speed of the economic downturn in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic has been exceptional, causing mass layoffs-in Germany up to 30% of the workforce in some industries. Economic rationale suggests that the decision on which workers are fired should depend on productivity-related individual factors. However, from hiring situations we know that discrimination-i.e., decisions driven by characteristics unrelated to productivity-is widespread in Western labor markets. Drawing on representative survey data on forced layoffs and short-time work collected in Germany between April and December 2020, this study highlights that discrimination against immigrants is also present in firing situations. The analysis shows that employees with a migration background are significantly more likely to lose their job than native workers when otherwise healthy firms are unexpectedly forced to let go of part of their workforce, while firms make more efforts to substitute firing with short-time working schemes for their native workers. Adjusting for detailed job-related characteristics shows that the findings are unlikely to be driven by systematic differences in productivity between migrants and natives. Moreover, using industry-specific variation in the extent of the economic downturn, I demonstrate that layoff probabilities hardly differ across the less affected industries, but that the gap between migrants and natives increases with the magnitude of the shock. In the hardest-hit industries, job loss probability among migrants is three times higher than among natives. This confirms the hypothesis that firing discrimination puts additional pressure on the immigrant workforce in times of crisis.

COVID-19/economics , Economic Recession , Economics , Employment/economics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Demography/economics , Developed Countries/economics , Emigration and Immigration , Germany , Health Workforce/economics , Humans , Industry/economics , Occupations/economics , Pandemics/economics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Socioeconomic Factors , Transients and Migrants
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 22914, 2021 11 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1537336


The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred controversies related to whether countries manipulate reported data for political gains. We study the association between accuracy of reported COVID-19 data and developmental indicators. We use the Newcomb-Benford law (NBL) to gauge data accuracy. We run an OLS regression of an index constructed from developmental indicators (democracy level, gross domestic product per capita, healthcare expenditures, and universal healthcare coverage) on goodness-of-fit measures to the NBL. We find that countries with higher values of the developmental index are less likely to deviate from the Newcomb-Benford law. The relationship holds for the cumulative number of reported deaths and total cases but is more pronounced for the death toll. The findings are robust for second-digit tests and for a sub-sample of countries with regional data. The NBL provides a first screening for potential data manipulation during pandemics. Our study indicates that data from autocratic regimes and less developed countries should be treated with more caution. The paper further highlights the importance of independent surveillance data verification projects.

COVID-19/economics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Disease Notification/statistics & numerical data , Data Accuracy , Data Collection/trends , Delivery of Health Care , Developed Countries/economics , Developing Countries/economics , Gross Domestic Product , Humans , Models, Statistical , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Universal Health Insurance
BMJ ; 371: m4750, 2020 12 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-978795


OBJECTIVE: To analyze the premarket purchase commitments for coronavirus disease 2019 (covid-19) vaccines from leading manufacturers to recipient countries. DESIGN: Cross sectional analysis. DATA SOURCES: World Health Organization's draft landscape of covid-19 candidate vaccines, along with company disclosures to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, company and foundation press releases, government press releases, and media reports. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA AND DATA ANALYSIS: Premarket purchase commitments for covid-19 vaccines, publicly announced by 15 November 2020. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Premarket purchase commitments for covid-19 vaccine candidates and price per course, vaccine platform, and stage of research and development, as well as procurement agent and recipient country. RESULTS: As of 15 November 2020, several countries have made premarket purchase commitments totaling 7.48 billion doses, or 3.76 billion courses, of covid-19 vaccines from 13 vaccine manufacturers. Just over half (51%) of these doses will go to high income countries, which represent 14% of the world's population. The US has reserved 800 million doses but accounts for a fifth of all covid-19 cases globally (11.02 million cases), whereas Japan, Australia, and Canada have collectively reserved more than one billion doses but do not account for even 1% of current global covid-19 cases globally (0.45 million cases). If these vaccine candidates were all successfully scaled, the total projected manufacturing capacity would be 5.96 billion courses by the end of 2021. Up to 40% (or 2.34 billion) of vaccine courses from these manufacturers might potentially remain for low and middle income countries-less if high income countries exercise scale-up options and more if high income countries share what they have procured. Prices for these vaccines vary by more than 10-fold, from $6.00 (£4.50; €4.90) per course to as high as $74 per course. With broad country participation apart from the US and Russia, the COVAX Facility-the vaccines pillar of the World Health Organization's Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator-has secured at least 500 million doses, or 250 million courses, and financing for half of the targeted two billion doses by the end of 2021 in efforts to support globally coordinated access to covid-19 vaccines. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides an overview of how high income countries have secured future supplies of covid-19 vaccines but that access for the rest of the world is uncertain. Governments and manufacturers might provide much needed assurances for equitable allocation of covid-19 vaccines through greater transparency and accountability over these arrangements.

COVID-19 Vaccines/economics , COVID-19/prevention & control , Global Health/economics , Health Services Accessibility/economics , Healthcare Financing , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Developed Countries/economics , Developing Countries/economics , Health Services Accessibility/organization & administration , Humans