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With the spread of the coronavirus disease across over 100 countries and its status upgraded to that of a pandemic on 11 March 2020 (World Health Organization), increased attention is being placed on the policy measures that may be required to effectively curb the rate of contagion within and across countries. Currently, several governments, such as China, Italy, Spain, Japan and the Republic of Korea, have implemented emergency measures informed by the principle of social distancing to limit the spread of coronavirus (World Health Organization). Ever since the virus was first identified in Wuhan City in December 2019, this succession of uncoordinated policy responses offers a set of natural experiments that should be analysed to understand the successes and failures of containment at the societal level. In this analysis, we focus on the case of Italy, the hardest hit country in Europe (Dong, Du, & Gardner, 2020; World Health Organization). The objective of this short note is to provide an even-handed analysis of the actions taken by the Italian government to cope with the transmission of the virus and to highlight lessons in emergency management that can be learnt for other countries currently facing the onset of the Covid-19 epidemic.

Original publication





Book title

Contributions to Economic Analysis

Publication Date





231 - 236