Do Tank

Covid-19: a cost-benefit analysis of lockdowns

21 / 05 / 2021

GenerationLibre provides an unprecedented analysis of the positive and negative consequences of lockdowns on French people’s life expectancy.


The lockdowns implemented in France to deal with the Covid-19 epidemic have saved lives but have also created significant collateral damage among the population.

We have quantified this equation using a methodology that allows us to measure the positive and negative consequences of lockdowns on the population’s life expectancy : on the one hand, years of life gained thanks to the restrictive measures, and on the other hand, years of life lost as a result of the economic crisis.

We do not conclude that lockdowns were undesirable, but we do warn against underestimating their side effects, especially among young people.

Our modelling rounds off an estimated gain of 500,000 years of life  and an estimated loss of 1,200,000 years of life at a national level between March 2020 and April 2021.

These initial figures are note definitive (they call for other evaluations using different methodologies), but they do provide essential information for the public debate.

The lives affected by the lockdowns are less visible than the ones preserved, but they are no less precious. Our collective choices must be judged by their collective consequences.


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