Coronavirus and the Great Influenza Epidemic: Lessons from the 'Spanish Flu' for the Coronavirus' Potential Effects on Mortality and Economic Activity [open pdf - 848KB]
From the Abstract: "Mortality and economic contraction during the 1918-1920 Great Influenza Epidemic provide plausible upper bounds for outcomes under the coronavirus (COVID-19). Data for 43 countries imply flu-related deaths in 1918-1920 of 39 million, 2.0 percent of world population, implying 150 million deaths when applied to current population. Regressions with annual information on flu deaths 1918-1920 and war deaths during WWI [World War I] imply flu-generated economic declines for GDP [gross domestic product] and consumption in the typical country of 6 and 8 percent, respectively. There is also some evidence that higher flu death rates decreased realized real returns on stocks and, especially, on short-term government bills."
2020 Robert J. Barro, Jose F. Ursua, and Joanna Weng. Posted here with permission. Documents are for personal use only and not for commercial profit.
American Enterprise Institute: https://www.aei.org/