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I have heard this question framed as making the decision between lives and the economy. But on the other hand, I also read a StackExchange discussion(I am not sure of the link), where it was shown that historically, higher unemployment(economic indicator) led to greater mortality.

Thus, it is only to a limited extent, a choice between economy and lives. How do policymakers come up with the decisions for such a complex question? I suspect that policymakers make such decisions with an eye on the elections? By and large are there any policy decisions that lots of policymakers tend to make that goes against the conventional wisdom of most economists?

This question is focused on the coronavirus. But, I would love to see answers that explain the current situation with historical examples of past crises.

Also, I am new to StackExchange Economics. I would be grateful if people could give me pointers on how to improve the clarity of my questions.

** Edit: In response to feedback, I will narrow down the question to a comparision between Sweden and the other Scandinivian countries, which pursued radically different policies.**

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  • $\begingroup$ Perhaps you should narrow your question down to one specific country/jurisdiction/policy maker. Right now the question covers everything from Donald Trump/Bolsonaro to some small technocratic governments that actually seek and use expert advice. $\endgroup$ – Kenny LJ May 30 at 2:39
  • $\begingroup$ Each country is doing this differently, and in places like Canada, sub-national governments make the decisions. There’s no way to generalise. There’s no recent historical comparisons. $\endgroup$ – Brian Romanchuk May 30 at 12:49
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks @KennyLJ. Updated! $\endgroup$ – Manish May 30 at 16:54

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