TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A study published by the Brookings Institution has found that Taiwan was the sole country to experience economic growth during the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19).
On Sept. 24, the journal Brookings Papers on Economic Activity (BPEA) published an article titled, "Macroeconomic outcomes and COVID-19: A progress report," authored by Charles I. Jones, an economics professor at Stanford University Graduate School of Business, and Jesús Fernández-Villaverde, an economics professor and director of the Graduate Studies Department of Economics at the University of Pennsylvania.
In the paper, the authors highlight Taiwan for being able to minimize the deaths and economic losses inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic through "good policy." They said "with the right policies" it is possible to achieve "good outcomes on both the GDP and COVID mortality."
Taiwan was listed with China*, Germany, Japan, Norway, and South Korea as exemplifying this lesson.
The paper attributed a combination of "good luck and good policy" for having relatively few coronavirus deaths while at the same time managing to keep "the losses in economic activity relatively low." In a chart titled, "International COVID Death and Lost GDP," Taiwan was the sole country out of 30 to post positive GDP growth since the start of 2020, while only experiencing seven deaths from the virus.
The authors said that Taiwan and some other countries showed it is possible to emerge well from the pandemic, despite having large, densely populated cities. It added these countries are "highly connected with the rest of the world" and rely heavily on global trade.
In a chart titled, "Cumulative Google Activity and Lost GDP," the authors asserted that a drop in activity on Google has a strong correlation with GDP loss and an increase in unemployment. Again, based on Google activity in Taiwan, it was the only country to experience GDP growth.
In a chart titled, "COVID Deaths and Cumulative Google Activity," Taiwan's extremely low number of deaths was attributed to its economy suffering the least impact of all nations on the chart. In a chart that showed the monthly flow of Google activity, Taiwan again showed the smallest change, while hard-hit countries such as Belgium, Spain, and France saw long periods of steadily reduced activity as the pandemic raged on.
In response to a tweet posted on Sept. 24 by Brookings Econ showing Taiwan as the only country experiencing growth in the world, Dr. Amanda J. Phalin, an economist and lecturer at the University of Florida in the Warrington College of Business Management Department, wrote, "Wow, Taiwan!" Ethan Tu (杜奕瑾), the founder of Taiwan's popular message board PTT on Thursday (Nov. 5) posted the chart showing Taiwan as the outlier on his Facebook page and wrote, "Graph of global GDP, there is one place that is very antisocial."
“Good outcomes really are possible. It wasn’t the case that we all got hit with this thing and we all had bad outcomes,” said @ChadJonesEcon RE: his #BPEA study on macroeconomics of #COVID19. Read it: https://t.co/5AEDnsyKPf & watch the presentation live: https://t.co/S9FCKvpW2i pic.twitter.com/yyokeejEoy
— Brookings Econ (@BrookingsEcon) September 24, 2020
* China's statistics for confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths are suspiciously low for such a populous country, currently in 59th place behind Lebanon and ahead of Bahrain at 86,115 confirmed cases. In addition, China's statistical data on its economic output is notoriously unreliable, as a report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission attests.