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Coronavirus: The World Bank should care that the public does not understand its pandemic bonds

There are legitimate criticisms of pandemic bonds, but the lunatic conspiracy theories online amid the coronavirus panic are damaging; the World Bank’s failure to refute them clearly is a mistake.


Pandemic bonds, and their cousins in the broader catastrophe bond sector, are peculiar animals. They are frequently complex, somewhat opaque, and they must wade through the mire of morbid possibility.

But at heart they are insurance. Like most insurance policies, they involve an assessment of the risk of unpleasant events. The relief they provide is determined by strict conditions. Fail to meet those and there is no pay-out.

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