A new GLO Discussion Paper using mortality data for Italy finds that the growth in total mortality rates can potentially be used as a statistically reliable predictor of mortality crises.
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GLO Discussion Paper No. 618, 2020
Excess Mortality as a Predictor of Mortality Crises: The Case of COVID-19 in Italy – Download PDF
by Ceriani, Lidia & Verme, Paolo
GLO Fellow Paolo Verme
Author Abstract: The paper provides initial evidence that excess mortality rates by locality can be used as a statistically reliable predictor of looming mortality crises. Using recently published daily deaths figures for 7,357 Italian municipalities, we estimate the growth in daily mortality rates between the period 2015-2019 and 2020 by province. All provinces that experienced a major mortality shock in mid-March 2020 had increases in mortality rates of 100% or above already in mid-February 2020. This increase was particularly strong for males and older people, two recognizable features of COVID-19. Using panel data models, we find a strong positive and significant association between overall deaths and COVID-19 related deaths, and between early increases in mortality rates in February 2020 for any cause and the March 2020 outbreak in COVID-19 deaths. We conclude that the growth in mortality rates can potentially be used as a statistically reliable predictor of mortality crises, including COVID- 19 crises.
GLO Discussion Papers are research and policy papers of the GLO Network which are widely circulated to encourage discussion. Provided in cooperation with EconStor, a service of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, GLO Discussion Papers are among others listed in RePEc (see IDEAS, EconPapers). Complete list of all GLO DPs – downloadable for free.