LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. (Project Syndicate) — With the coronavirus devastating one economy after another, the economics profession — and thus the analytical underpinnings for sound policy making and crisis management — is having to play catch-up.

Of particular concern now are the economics of viral contagion, of fear, and of “circuit breakers.” The more that economic thinking advances to meet changing realities, the better will be the analysis that informs the policy response.

That response is set to be both novel and inevitably costly. Governments and central banks are pursuing unprecedented measures to mitigate the global downturn, lest a now-certain global recession gives way to a depression (already an uncomfortably high risk).

As they do, we will likely see a further erosion of the

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