Economists INK: Fall 2020
This issue considers the adverse impact of COVID-19 on hospital financials, how COVID-19 and policy responses to it can act as natural experiments, and the potential for disparate impact from employment decisions made in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Dr. Argue discusses how the pandemic has driven many hospitals into negative profit margins and the type of scrutiny they are likely to face from the FTC if they seek a merger in response to their financial losses. Dr. Gurrea discusses how economists may establish the causal relationship between explanatory variables and an outcome of interest through actual world occurrences such as COVID-19. As an example, Dr. Gurrea considers a May 2020 ruling by the Wisconsin Supreme Court that abruptly ended the “Safer at Home” order by the Wisconsin Department of Health Service. Dr. Greulich considers the potential for COVID-19-related employment decisions to have disparate impact on employees and job applicants. Dr. Greulich discusses the statistical analyses that should be considered in determining whether a facially neutral selection process has disparate impact on a particular group and concludes that careful consideration and a statistical analysis of COVID-19-related employment decisions can assist in preventing disparate impact on any particular group of employees.