How Economists Ignored the Spanish Flu Pandemic in 1918–1920
The current Covid-19 pandemic has attracted significant attention from epidemiologists and economists alike. This differs from the 1918–1920 Spanish influenza pandemic, when academic economists hardly paid attention to its economic features, despite its very high death toll. We examine the reasons for that by contrasting the ways epidemiologists and economists reacted to the Spanish flu at the time and shortly after the pandemic. We also explore, but less extensively, some economic and epidemiologic writings during the twenty-five years that followed.