Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

Optimal Interventions in Networks during a Pandemic

Tchuente, Guy, Pongou, Roland, Tondjj, Jean-Baptiste (2022) Optimal Interventions in Networks during a Pandemic. Journal of Population Economics, 36 (2). pp. 847-883. ISSN 0933-1433. E-ISSN 1432-1475. (KAR id:95672)


We develop a model of optimal lockdown policy for a social planner who balances population health with short-term wealth accumulation. The unique solution depends on tolerable infection incidence and social network structure. We then use unique data on nursing home networks in the United States to calibrate the model and quantify state-level preference for prioritizing health over wealth. We also empirically validate simulation results derived from comparative statics analyses. Our findings suggest that policies that tolerate more virus spread (laissez-faire) increase state GDP growth and COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes. The detrimental effects of laissez-faire policies are more potent for nursing homes that are more peripheral in networks, nursing homes in poorer counties, and nursing homes that operate on a for-profit basis. We also find that U.S. states with Republican governors have a higher tolerable incidence level, but these policies tend to converge with a high death count.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: COVID-19, Health-vs-wealth prioritization, Lockdown, Networks, Nursing homes
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
J Political Science > JK Political institutions and public administration (United States)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Economics
Funders: University of Kent (
Depositing User: Guy Tchuente Nguembu
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2022 22:26 UTC
Last Modified: 13 Aug 2023 23:00 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.