Thought Leadership from Marshall Faculty

Facing the COVID-19 Crisis

Quarantining for maximum impact in the face of COVID-19

Kimon Drakopoulos and the power of data to drive informed decision making

Given the inherent challenges in executing a national lockdown in the United States, Assistant Professor of Data Sciences and Operations Kimon Drakopoulos looks at how data and models can be leveraged to effectuate targeted quarantines.

Professor Drakopoulos’ work explores the spread of the common flu epidemic over the continental US through a powerful causal econometric analysis. The flu is, of course, much less contagious than the coronavirus, but key findings still apply – perhaps even more so.

Travel vectors and localized intervention resources are crucial. Examining historical travel flow data as well as seasonality effects, he argues that adding intervention resources at various states or flight routes is essential. Prioritizing key states based on incidence and travel centrality is particularly important, while prioritizing specific travel routes can be a very effective, targeted way of slowing down a pandemic.

Communicating during quarantine

Veronica Guo examines how COVID-19 is impacting Chinese business professionals

How is coronavirus shaping the ability of Asian businesses to communicate and collaborate? Are long distances mandated by quarantines impeding effectiveness and productivity? Assistant Professor of Clinical Business Communication Veronica Guo shares her knowledge and expertise.

Coronavirus testing: speed or accuracy?

For Ramandeep Randhawa, the devil is in the details

Common wisdom, as well as statistical intuition, suggests that higher accuracy for medical tests (such as testing for the coronavirus) leads to better outcomes. This intuition is correct in the absence of other operational considerations, such as limited testing availability. Using analytical modeling, Professor of Data Sciences and Operations Ramandeep Randhawa finds that in early time periods of an epidemic, higher test accuracies do not imply higher societal outcomes. In fact, one obtains better societal outcomes by providing quick access to moderately good tests, and then improving the accuracy of the test over time as the epidemic potentially grows. His results provide insight into the trade-offs faced in releasing tests quickly when dealing with epidemics.

Controlling COVID-19: Metrics, Benchmarks and Patterns

Gerard Tellis explains why, when it comes to coronavirus, what you see depends on where you look

As director of the Center for Global Innovation and of the Institute for Outlier Research in Business, Professor Gerard Tellis is well positioned to offer insights into the pandemic’s global reach. He and his colleagues have identified two key metrics (growth rate and time-to-double) as critical to measuring the global diffusion (spread) of Covid-19, as well as key benchmarks for public health managers to target. Based on data available from countries and cities whose experience with the outbreak preceded that of the United States, they are able to quantify the time it takes to accomplish control, containment and arrest of the disease and offer guidance on major measures that can affect this timetable.

Saving lives versus preserving livelihoods: an economic analysis of COVID-19

Tom Chang asks how we balance public health against economic consequences

The value of a single human life is incalculable, but its economic impact can be tangibly measured. In an op-ed published in STAT, Associate Professor of Finance and Business Economics Tom Chang evaluates a concept from economics – the value of a statistical life – to discuss the cost-benefit trade-offs of difficult decisions such as how much we should be willing to damage the economy to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Coronavirus in STEM industries

Veronica Guo explores the effect of COVID-19 on employee identity

Multicultural companies in STEM-related industries are taking a wide variety of approaches to framing coronavirus for their employees. Assistant Professor of Clinical Business Communication Veronica Guo looks at how distinct COVID-19 framing strategies from company leadership can influence team collaboration, company culture and organizational identity.

Coronavirus cancellations put hundreds of millions of dollars at risk

Tom Chang on COVID-19’s economic consequences for tourism

With the cancellation of one of Indian Wells’ signature athletic events – the BNP Paribas Open – more than $400 million in tourism-related businesses are suddenly in jeopardy. Associate Professor of Finance and Business Economics Tom Chang weighs in on what that means for big and small businesses.


A volatile market during an explosive time

Larry Harris predicts market swings preceding COVID-19

As global markets have wildly gyrated in response to the coronavirus pandemic, fears have emerged that epic swings in value could become a self-reinforcing loop. Professor of Finance and Business Economics Larry Harris describes similar market conditions years before COVID-19, as reported by Bloomberg.

The pandemic and the global economy

Mete Kilic on what the history of slowly unfolding disasters tells us about COVID-19

With the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic looming over the global economy, the US stock market has already lost close to 30 percent of its value over the last weeks. What should investors expect going forward in the next months? Is a quick recovery to be expected, or is the world going to witness another slowly unfolding disaster like the Great Depression? Research from Assistant Professor of Finance and Business Economics Mete Kilic reveals that the nature of investors’ learning process during disastrous periods will be crucial for where we will stand soon.

Kilic shows that investors will continue observing the signals about the epidemic and make a judgement on whether the downside risk is temporary or here to stay longer. History tells us that financial market disasters unfold slowly as investors live through turbulent times.

Back to the future

Rodney Ramcharam on how Federal Reserve tools from previous crises might impact economic recovery from COVID-19

Associate Professor of Finance and Business Economics Rodney Ramcharam does research on policies the Fed and European Central Bank have used to combat financial crises of the past. Tools like quantitative easing have proven highly effective, but also have distributional consequences. Will they work as well against a crisis that has its origins on Main Street instead of Wall Street, unlike the 2008 financial meltdown? Professor Ramcharam sheds light on whether what’s past could also be prologue.