U.S. trade indicators and epidemics: Lessons from the 2003 SARS outbreak

Deliana Kostova, Rajeev Cherukupalli, Walter Ochieng, John T. Redd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We revisited the 2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-2003) and its role in two U.S. indicators — U.S. merchandise exports to countries in the East Asia Pacific (EAP) region and domestic U.S. jobs supported by these exports. We employed a quasi-experimental approach where SARS-2003 average treatment effects were derived from comparing before-2003 and after-2003 differences in indicator trends for EAP countries that experienced the bulk of 2003 epidemic transmission (China, T aiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore) and EAP countries that did not, controlling for observed and unobserved country heterogeneity that might concurrently determine trends in trade. The SARS-2003 outbreak was associated with a USD 29 billion relative reduction in U.S. merchandise exports to the group of high-burden SARS countries, with a corresponding relative loss of 61,200 U.S. jobs. These effects were largely explained by a slowdown in exports from the U.S. manufacturing sector (USD 24.9 billion). No significant post-2003 effects were estimated for either exports or jobs, indicating a relatively quick rebound

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2610-2618
Number of pages9
JournalEconomics Bulletin
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 12 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'U.S. trade indicators and epidemics: Lessons from the 2003 SARS outbreak'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this