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Tag Archives: COVID-19

Economic Lessons from COVID-19

One of the most important things economists can do in a pandemic is not forget what we know. We know that central planners don’t have enough information and insight about the lives and activities of 330 million people to plan those lives in a thoughtful way. We know the problems that emerge when you distribute something valuable by giving it away. We know that government officials face bad incentives. We know that externalities pose problems for the straightforward...

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The summer of 2021

This will be a very weird summer. By June 6th, everyone who wants a vaccine will have had at least one shot. People will still be dying of Covid, but the situation will seem much different. People will begin to act like the pandemic is over. But what will the new normal look like? We won’t know for an additional three months, not until the extended unemployment compensation expires on September 6th. Until then, we’ll have a very unusual period for the US economy. Here...

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Covid: The next issue

I don’t see much discussion in the media of an issue that will soon take front and center stage. In America, over 700 people die of Covid each day. Almost all of the deaths are among people who have not been vaccinated. Within a few weeks, almost all of the deaths will be among people who chose not to be vaccinated. Of course each of those deaths is just as tragic as anyone else.  But what will be the implication of that fact for public policy? For private policy?...

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Anthony Fauci is Anti-Science

Out of the 120 million people vaccinated in the U.S., roughly 6.9 million have received J&J’s vaccine, Fauci said, noting that there haven’t been any “red flag signals” from the Pfizer or Moderna Covid-19 vaccines that rely on MRNA technology in their shots. Out of the 6.9 million people who got the J&J jab, six developed blood clots, he said. “We are totally aware that this is a rare event. We want to get this worked out as quickly as we possibly can and...

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Who are the experts?

Ezra Klein recently had a piece on Covid-19 in the NYT, which pointed out that Alex Tabarrok has been ahead of the curve on many issues: [B]est as I can tell, Tabarrok has repeatedly been proved right, and ideas that sounded radical when he first argued for them command broader support now. What I’ve come to think of as the Tabarrok agenda has come closest to being adopted in Britain, which delayed second doses, approved the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine despite its data...

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Covid Caution and Curry

On March 17, my favorite NBA player, Steph Curry shot a 3-pointer and then, as is his wont, backpedalled. The problem: he was backpedalling off the sideline instead of down the court and there was no barrier to stop him. In a normal game, there would have been some normal barrier to stop his going backward, whether the barrier be other chairs that players were sitting on or something else. But because of Covid cautions, there are large spaces between chairs and so as...

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Privileges and Privacy for the Rulers

Recent journalistic investigations revealed that the family and friends of New York governor Andrew Cuomo benefited from nomenklatura privileges at the time when ordinary people had problems getting Covid-19 tests and timely results. These state-privileged people could be tested rapidly, often at home and many times if they wished. Their tests were often rushed to laboratories by state troopers and treated in priority. Liz Wolfe of Reason Magazine writes: There was...

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Proactive and reactive COVID policies

New York magazine has a good article on Covid-19: “Basically, going back to January, they’d be like, ‘China’s not going to control it; 80 percent of the population is going to get it; all efforts to contain it are going to fail; we have to learn to live with this virus; contact tracing and testing make no sense; this is going to be everywhere; right now we need to build up hospitals’ — which they didn’t even do. But they really didn’t think it was stoppable,” she...

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Did Price-Gouging Laws Increase Covid Deaths?

An interesting working paper was published this month by economists Rik Chakraborti (Christopher Newport University) and Gavin Roberts (Weber State University), “How Price-Gouging Regulation Undermined COVID-19 Mitigation: Evidence of Unintended Consequences.” These price controls created shortages, which, according to economic theory, would have been more severe in the 42 states that already had price-gouging laws on the books or (inexplicably for an economist)...

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Charley Hooper on Masks

I posted recently about the discussion between Phil Magness and Jeremy Horpedahl about mask mandates to deal with COVID-19. My sometimes co-author and former student Charley Hooper wrote the following on masks in a recent email. He’s given me permission to share it. The bottom line: the evidence in favor of masks, let alone mandates, just does not seem to be there. Here’s Charley: The only randomized controlled trials conducted to study the effects of wearing masks...

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