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Rotman experts on COVID-19: the need for global cooperation, how to build back better and what cities will look like

September 2, 2020

A look back at how researchers at Rotman have contributed to the ongoing conversation about navigating the global pandemic.

In recent weeks, professors, research associates and students across the Rotman School have shared their views on why global collaboration is crucial, what we need to consider in our efforts to build back better and what life will look like after the pandemic is resolved, among other topics.

To move beyond this crisis, a coordinated response is crucial, Professor Anita McGahan and her co-authors explain in a piece for Policy Options. McGahan, who is a University Professor at the University of Toronto and a professor in the Strategic Management area at the Rotman, explains how needless competition and a lack of global collaboration has contributed to the inefficient distribution of medical supplies and a slow global response to the pandemic. She and her co-authors make clear that to move forward, we need to harness the capabilities of all countries.

Ambarish Chandra, an associate professor in the Economic Analysis and Policy area and with the Department of Management at the University of Toronto Scarborough, argues that Canada must keep the border closed to non-essential travel until the number of cases in the U.S. drops significantly. However, in his recent piece for The Toronto Star, he makes the case for reopening the border for migrant workers, immigration and for the purposes of reuniting families.

Student Peter Zhang (PharmD/MBA '22) urges Canadians to get the flu shot this winter. As he and his co-author explain in their op-ed for The Toronto Star, the flu shot remains the best defense for against influenza, and it will be especially important this season as the flu epidemic is likely to overlap with the COVID-19 pandemic.

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In terms of maintaining your financial health, Lisa Kramer, who is a professor with the University of Toronto Mississauga (with a cross-appointment to the Finance area at the Rotman School), explains how flashy abbreviations, widespread anxiety, and questionable valuation practices might be driving investors to make bad decisions. As Kramer explains in her op-ed for The Globe and Mail, in times like these especially, it pays to work with a financial advisor.

Sarah Kaplan, director of the Institute for Gender and the Equality (GATE), and her colleagues highlight key considerations on how to build back better after the pandemic. In a recent Poets and Quants piece, Kaplan points out that business schools owe it to their students to teach them how to tackle complex social issues. “Students crave this kind of learning. Society demands it. Our business leaders need it,” she writes.

Meanwhile, Carmina Ravanera, a research associate at GATE, writes about how BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) and women have been disproportionately affected by the global pandemic in her op-ed for Corporate Knights. She and her co-author reference their recently-released Feminist Economic Recovery Plan for Canada and argue that recovery policies must recognize how systemic racism and gender inequity have contributed to economic freefall and the health crisis.

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Additionally, Kaplan adds that care services will be critical in bringing women back to paid work. As she describes in a piece for The Toronto Star, during this pandemic, women have been more likely to bear the burden of care responsibilities. Offering accessible and affordable childcare will ensure a swift return to a stable, productive economy.

Finally, Richard Florida, a University Professor at the Rotman School and the School of Cities at U of T, considers what cities will look like post-COVID. In his recent essay for Bloomberg CityLab, Florida explains how with the rise of remote work, families with kids and the elderly will leave cities and head to the surrounding suburbs. At the same time, metropolitan areas will pull young people in.

Ultimately, this crisis and the recent demands for racial justice have set the stage for rebuilding cities so that they are more affordable and inclusive. “Shame on us if we fail to capitalize on this opportunity,” he writes.

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From the Institute for Gender and the Economy and the YWCA

A Feminist Economic Recovery Plan for Canada



Meet the researchers

Anita McGahan

University Professor
Professor of Strategic Management


Ambarish Chandra

Associate Professor of Economic Analysis and Policy


Lisa A. Kramer

Professor of Finance


Sarah Kaplan

Director, Institute for Gender and the Economy (GATE)
Professor of Strategic Management


Richard Florida

University Professor
Professor of Economic Analysis and Policy


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