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Tag Archives: Economics of Health Care

A Hole in the Market

“When markets fail, use markets.” The above is a quote from Arnold Kling, the person who started this blog. I thought of that when reading Sally Satel, “Rethink Crisis Response,” Reason, October 2020. The whole October issue, by the way, is focused on fixing the police, and it’s excellent. Here are the first 3 paragraphs from Satel’s article. “Please just send one police car, please don’t have your weapons drawn, please take him to the hospital.” These are the words...

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The Great Reconciliation?

What is the best way to reconcile the results for these three polls? How good is the following heuristic? The resources you spend mitigating a problem should be directly proportional to its overall severity. — Bryan Caplan (@bryan_caplan) August 18, 2020 Medically speaking, how bad is coronavirus compared to flu? — Bryan Caplan (@bryan_caplan) August 17, 2020 How much time, inconvenience, and resources should we spend fighting coronavirus compared to flu? — Bryan...

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The Risks of Friendship: A Socratic Dialogue

The scene: Ancient Athens.  Glaucon is standing in the Parthenon, wearing a face mask.  Socrates enters with his face fully visible. Socrates: Greetings, Glaucon!  How fare you during this awful plague? Glaucon: [jumps 5 feet]  What the hell are you doing?  Are you trying to kill me? Socrates: No, why would you think so? Glaucon: We’re indoors and you’re not wearing your mask! Socrates: I’m 20 feet away from you.  And the Parthenon is cavernous. Glaucon: You should...

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Sweden and Taiwan revisited

On April 15, I did a post arguing that Sweden is not the right Covid-19 model for libertarians, rather Taiwan is the model. Now that we are in September, it’s time to revisit some of the arguments. One argument is that countries trying to control Covid-19 were merely delaying the inevitable. You hear people saying “we’re all going to get it eventually”. But are we? Russia and China are already beginning to roll out vaccines, and Western countries are expected to begin...

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Personal Immunity and Herd Immunity

When I first heard friends getting excited about T-cell immunity to COVID-19, I was non-plussed. “This means the disease is less contagious than we thought!,” they said. And I replied, “You’re double-counting!  I If some people are immune, that will already be reflected in existing estimates of R0.” As it turns out, however, my friends were right for the wrong reason.  While immunity doesn’t matter for initial estimates of R0, it is crucial for estimating the path of...

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Covid-19 in the Western Hemisphere

Tyler Cowen recently made this claim: That is the abstract of a new NBER paper by Andrew Atkeson, Karen Kopecky, and Tao Zha. You will note that when it comes to Covid-19 cases, the superior performance Europe had enjoyed over the United States seems to be evaporating. I view case data as unreliable, especially when making international comparisons.  I prefer mortality data, which shows the US to be doing far worse than Europe, a gap that continues to widen...

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Greg Ip Should Read the Wall Street Journal

In a lengthy article in today’s Wall Street Journal titled “New Thinking on Covid Lockdowns: They’re Overly Blunt and Costly,” Wall Street Journal reporter Greg Ip does a good job of backing up the title of his article. He shows that the title is justified. Well, almost justified. The thinking isn’t exactly new. It’s been around for a few months, which makes it old in Covid-19 time. In “The Data Are In: It’s Time for Major Reopening,” co-author Jonathan Lipow and I...

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Philippe Lemoine on Covid-19 conspiracy theories

A great deal of confusing and contradictory information has been written about the events surrounding the outbreak of Covid-19 in Wuhan, China. Philippe Lemoine has now provided a long and carefully documented account of the early days of the epidemic. This will be followed up with three more installments, discussing conspiracy theories regarding acknowledgement of human-to-human transmission, the origin of Covid-19 (lab or natural), and pandemic data from China. I...

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The Bloodbath:The Dropout, Episodes 5 and 6

Part 3 of a #ReadWithMe Series Read the earlier posts here and here. By 2016, Holmes and Balwani had broken up, and he was leaving the company. Carreyrou’s series of articles about Theranos’s unreliable technology had been published in the Wall Street Journal. And yet, many of Elizabeth’s early investors, like Tim Draper, still defended her unreservedly as someone who is “doing a great thing for humanity” and “changing healthcare as we know it.” Channing Robertson,...

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The Dysfunctional FDA

A front-page article in Wednesday’s print edition of the Wall Street Journal is titled “Three Lost Weeks Stalled Virus Testing.” (The title in the linked e-version is slightly different.) The reporters are Stephanie Armour, Brianna Abbott, Thomas M. Burton, and Betsy McKay. The investigative report is quite good. It talks about a number of mistakes made up front by the CDC. But here’s a whopper about the FDA: Complicating matters for commercial and hospital labs, a...

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