This series of Special Issues is prompted by a global pandemic so serious that it will change all our lives irredeemably. Economic impacts in terms of macroeconomic and financial instability are going to persist for many years. Rises in unemployment around the world are already staggering. Other wider impacts on economic and social welfare are unfolding each day – including impacts in terms of increasing inequality and falling wellbeing and life satisfaction. Anyone who has experienced unemployment will know that unemployment is not just about losing a regular income. Unemployment is also about losing social connectedness and a sense of purpose. For those who are not able to return to work quickly, they will also suffer a loss of skills, disillusionment with the job search process and – potentially – a struggle to convince potential employers of their value when their CV shows a long break away from work.

These stresses will be harder to navigate for those who live alone and cannot easily access the social and community support. Those who live unhappy, at worst violent, home lives have little escape. By 24 April 2020, according to World Health Organisation Situation Reports, there had been 175,694 deaths around the world – with a much larger number of bereaved family and friends, most of whom are having to navigate their grief through an extended period of social isolation when social isolation is exactly what a grieving person needs to avoid. These impacts are hard enough for those who lead otherwise affluent lives in countries with relatively good social safety nets. Many more around the world live in over-crowded conditions in poor countries without social safety nets, where political conditions are oppressive at the best of times. Large numbers of others are suffering the severe consequences of this pandemic in refugee camps and urban slums, where their already limited life chances are now dwindling rapidly.

So, now more than ever, policymakers around the world are in urgent need of powerful and transdisciplinary policy insights. Behavioural economics and behavioural science have a great deal to contribute to policy-makers’ knowledge, not only around the science and epidemiology of the virus itself, but also how to mitigate against the terrible and wide-ranging ramifications of this disease – a disease with impacts we could not have imagined just 3 months ago.


Submission details
JBEP is seeking papers for three Special Issues on COVID-19, with an issue each on short-term, medium-term and long-term insights and impacts.

If you would like to contribute to the COVID-19 Special Issues, please send your paper to

Your paper should be short (2-4,000 words) and evidence-based. It should be easily intelligible and useful for policymakers as well as academic researchers. It can address key policy insights relevant to pandemics generally as well as COVID-19 specifically. We will continue to accept submissions for these Special Issues through 2020.

Enquiries about this series of Special Issues can be directed to the JBEP Editor-in-Chief – Prof Michelle Baddeley, University of Technology Sydney (

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