Tracking the economic impact of COVID lockdowns in the Americas, Europe, and Asia
One by-product of the global pandemic has been to speed up tech-driven innovation in a range of areas—including economics. Data scientists have long sought to improve real-time GDP estimates. And the challenge has become more urgent as policymakers try to balance the COVID-19 health crisis with the toll of lockdowns. So Nicolas Woloszko, an economist at the OECD, developed a system that uses Google Trends data and machine learning to provide weekly snapshots of GDP in 46 countries with a high degree of accuracy. Here, we’ve overlaid Woloszko’s GDP numbers for the past year with data from the University of Oxford on strict lockdowns in 12 major economies. One conclusion: With a virus as devastating as SARS-CoV-2, there is no universal policy blueprint for success.
This article appears in the February/March 2021 issue of Fortune with the headline, “The economic impact of lockdowns.”