Open Access Journal Article

In search of an optimal public policy in a pandemic: The question of lives versus livelihood

by Gopal K. Basak a Chandramauli Chakraborty b  and  Pranab Kumar Das c,* orcid
Theoretical Statistics and Mathematics Unit, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, India
Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, India
Centre for Studies in Social Sciences Calcutta, Kolkata, India
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
JEA  2024, 76; 3(4), 76;
Received: 17 July 2023 / Accepted: 9 September 2023 / Published Online: 15 December 2024


The paper addresses the alternative policy options available to address the question of lives versus livelihood in an SIRD model augmented with a macroeconomic structure. An important contribution of the paper lies in designing the policy of lockdown dependent on the extent of the constraint on the health facilities. The paper supplements the literature with a less stringent version of the lockdown policy, viz. soft lockdown policy which is shown to be more attractive from a public policy standpoint and has actually been practised in many countries across the globe during the recent pandemic. Finally, the optimal policy derived on the basis of the level of lockdown and adjustment of the binding constraint on health facilities depends on the objective of policy makers contingent on the relative weights of lives versus livelihood.

Copyright: © 2024 by Basak, Chakraborty and Das. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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ACS Style
Basak, G. K.; Chakraborty, C.; Das, P. K. In search of an optimal public policy in a pandemic: The question of lives versus livelihood. Journal of Economic Analysis, 2024, 3, 76.
AMA Style
Basak G K, Chakraborty C, Das P K. In search of an optimal public policy in a pandemic: The question of lives versus livelihood. Journal of Economic Analysis; 2024, 3(4):76.
Chicago/Turabian Style
Basak, Gopal K.; Chakraborty, Chandramauli; Das, Pranab K. 2024. "In search of an optimal public policy in a pandemic: The question of lives versus livelihood" Journal of Economic Analysis 3, no.4:76.
APA style
Basak, G. K., Chakraborty, C., & Das, P. K. (2024). In search of an optimal public policy in a pandemic: The question of lives versus livelihood. Journal of Economic Analysis, 3(4), 76.

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