IZA Discussion Paper No. 13113

The Case for Releasing the Young from Lockdown: A Briefing Paper for Policymakers

The UK is ‘locked down’ because of coronavirus (COVID-19). No clear exit strategy currently exists. This paper suggests a possible way forward that combines elements from economics and epidemiology. The paper proposes as a policy a ‘release’ from lockdown of the young cohort of UK citizens aged between age 20 and 30 who do not live with parents. The paper calculates that there are approximately 4.2 million UK individuals who fall into this 20-30 ageband and who live outside the original parental home. Of those, 2.6 million work in the private sector, so unless some corrective action is taken they are likely to be extremely harshly affected, financially, when compared to employees in the public sector. The paper argues that a young-workforce release of this kind would lead to substantial economic and societal benefits without enormous health costs to the country. In this way, the nation might begin to move forward in the footsteps of the young. The paper’s key concept could in principle be implemented in other countries.

    JEL Codes

  • I18
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