Economics in One Virus

Here is John Cochrane, Megan McArdle, Ryan Bourne and myself on the pandemic. Lots of good material. John Cochrane was excellent on testing in a pandemic and why it’s different than medical testing, starting around 22:00. My follow-up also had some good material, our antibodies, our selves. Ryan Bourne’s book Economics in One Virus is […]

Atul Gawande and Zeke Emanuel Now Support Delaying the Second Dose

Many people are coming around to First Doses First, i.e delaying the second dose to ~12 weeks. Atul Gawande, for example, tweeted: As cases and hospitalizations rise again, we can’t count on behavior alone reversing this course. Therefore, it’s time for the Biden admin to delay 2nd vax doses to 12 weeks. Getting as many […]

From the Kibbutz to Libertarianism

Meir Kohn on his long path to becoming a libertarian. As a teenager he moved to Israel to live on a kibbutz. Kibbutz is bottom‐​up socialism on the scale of a small community. It thereby avoids the worst problems of state socialism: a planned economy and totalitarianism. The kibbutz, as a unit, is part of […]

Testing and the NFL

NYTimes: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health announced a new initiative on Wednesday to help determine whether frequent, widespread use of rapid coronavirus tests slows the spread of the virus. The program will make rapid at-home antigen tests freely available to every resident of two communities, Pitt County, […]

A Miniature Masterpiece

Superb NYTimes disquisition on a masterpiece of Indian miniature painting. The text, formatting, visuals, all beautifully done–better than any museum exhibit I can recall. In addition to the subject matter this piece has a lot to say about online education and how news is becoming a winner take-most market. Note what Tyler and I said […]

Failure is the Mother of Success

New paper from Jeffrey E. Harris: The decades-long effort to produce a workable HIV vaccine has hardly been a waste of public and private resources. To the contrary, the scientific know-how acquired along the way has served as the critical foundation for the development of vaccines against the novel, pandemic SARS-CoV-2 virus. We retell the […]

In Praise of Tyler Cowen and Patrick Collison

Here’s a great video on FastGrants, the fast funding-institution started by Tyler and Patrick Collison to fund COVID research at a speed that could make a difference on the ground. And it did. Lots of other people stepped in with funding including Arnold Ventures, The Audacious Project, The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, John Collison, Crankstart, Jack […]

Tabarrok and Doleac on Clubhouse

I will be speaking with Jennifer Doleac and the Manhattan Institute’s Charles Lehman about Misdemeanor Prosecution on Clubhouse 8pm EST tonight (Wed. March 31).

Misdemeanor Prosecution

Misdemeanor Prosecution (NBER) (ungated) is a new, blockbuster paper by Agan, Doleac and Harvey (ADH). Misdemeanor crimes are lesser crimes than felonies and typically carry a potential jail term of less than one year. Examples of  misdemeanors include petty theft/shoplifting, prostitution, public intoxication, simple assault, disorderly conduct, trespass, vandalism, reckless driving, indecent exposure, and various […]

Vaccine Roundup

1. Politico: The Biden administration is rethinking a costly system of government-run mass vaccination sites after data revealed the program is lagging well behind a much cheaper federal effort to distribute doses via retail pharmacies….The vaccination hubs, which are run by FEMA and staffed in part by National Guard troops and other Pentagon personnel, have […]

Flood the Zone

COVID cases are rising in New York, Michigan and New Jersey with most cases coming from the British and New York variants (B.1.1.7, B.1.526). It would be a good idea to flood these zones with vaccines. J&J production should hit 11 million doses this week. Send the J&J vaccine to pharmacies and clinics in these […]

Housing and the Game of Reverse Musical Chairs

The Mayor of Charlottesville recently tweeted. Please explain how building more market rate housing will free up the housing market for low-income citizens. Which low-income citizens will be able to afford to buy or rent a home that’s going to sell to $450,000? New construction will not lower the selling price of older homes…. Fortunately, […]

Trypanophobia or How to Alleviate Vaccine Hesitancy

A significant share of vaccine hesitancy is driven by fear of needles, trypanophobia. Adults don’t like to admit a fear of needles and less so that they would avoid a vaccine for fear of a jab. But trypanophobia is common and does reduce flu immunizations: Avoidance of influenza vaccination because of needle fear occurred in […]

Power Up!

Two weeks ago I was bitten by the equivalent of a radioactive spider and now I have superpowers! Including the power of immunity and the power to fly! Awesome. As I said earlier, the SARS-COV-2 virus killed more people this year than bullets “so virus immunity is a much better superpower than bullet immunity!” I […]

India Should Embrace Not Ban Crypto

Should India ban crypto in a return to foreign currency regulations of the past or embrace cryptocurrency? Shruti Rajagopalan has an excellent column reminding us of India’s old system of currency control under the License Raj. If India proceeds with a rumored ban on cryptocurrency, it wouldn’t be the country’s first attempt to impose currency […]

The EU Vaccine Bungling

The EU vaccine rollout has been remarkably bungled even by the standards we have come to expect from Western governments. In advising governments I and the AHT team argued that vaccines were the world’s easiest cost-benefit test because Billions<<Trillions. Yet when manufactures offered the EU vaccines worth thousands of dollars a dose for just $5-$40 […]

Bigger Is Better When It Comes to Vaccine Production

My co-authors, Eric Budish and Chris Snyder, have an excellent piece in the WSJ: We recently published a paper in the journal Science that aimed to quantify the enormous value of Covid-19 vaccine capacity: both existing and the value of building more. We worked with a team of economists, statisticians and policy experts led by […]

The Marginal Revolution NFT!

Tyler and I are pleased to announce our first NFT on the blockchain. Now you can own a screenshot of the very first Marginal Revolution post! Marginal Revolution is one of the world’s most popular blogs. Written by the economists Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok it has been in continuous operation since August 21, 2003. […]

Sobering Up After the Seventh Inning

Drunk people commit more crime. Not surprising but here’s a clever identification strategy from Klick and MacDonald. Baseball stadiums stop serving alcohol at the bottom of the 7th but the time from bottom of the 7th to the end of the game varies so sometimes people have sobered up by the end of the game […]

The Antikythera Mechanism

Excellent video based on new paper. An amazing mystery solved with history, science, mathematics and engineering. Only one step remains which is to produce it using ancient technology.

British Vaccine Efficiency

The British vaccination plan has been run very well. As this audience knows, the British delayed the second dose in order to get out more first doses quickly. A life-saving move. The British have also been targeting age and riskier workers very well. The excellent Witold Więcek (an Emergent Ventures prize recipient) has done a […]

FDA Postpones Inspections Delaying New Drugs and Creating Shortages of Old Drugs

NYTimes: The Covid-19 pandemic has forced the Food and Drug Administration to postpone hundreds of drug company inspections, creating an enormous backlog that is delaying new drug approvals and leading the industry to warn of impending shortages of existing medicines. …In an interview, F.D.A. officials said they sharply curtailed the inspections to protect their investigators, […]

Let the AZ Vaccine Go!

Finally the NYTimes has picked up on a story I have been shouting from the rooftops for months. Tens of millions of doses of the coronavirus vaccine made by the British-Swedish company AstraZeneca are sitting idly in American manufacturing facilities, awaiting results from its U.S. clinical trial while countries that have authorized its use beg […]

Tabarrok on Stossel on Vaccine Policy

Tabarrok on Stossel on Vaccine Policy – Marginal REVOLUTION Thank-you! You’ve been successfully added to the Marginal Revolution email subscription list. = startingDepth && model.depth Continue this thread → ]]>

Jiaolung, China’s Private City

Shruti Rajagopalan and I wrote about India’s private cities, Guragaon and Jamshedpur in Lessons from Gurgaon, India’s Private City. One thing we discovered was that transaction costs prevented private developers from coordinating on infrastructure such as sewage and electricity even though that was clearly the efficient solution and there was plenty of time to bargain. […]

Dose Stretching Policies Probably *Reduce* Mutation Risk

One objection to dose-stretching policies, such as delaying the second dose or using half-doses, is that this might increase the risk of mutation. While possible, some immunologists and evolution experts are now arguing that dose-stretching will probably reduce mutation risk which is what Tyler and I concluded. Here’s Tyler: One counter argument is that letting […]

Detroit Fauci

The mayor of Detroit has turned down an allocation of the J&J vaccine. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan declined an initial allocation of the newly authorized Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine….”So, Johnson & Johnson is a very good vaccine. Moderna and Pfizer are the best. And I am going to do everything I can to make […]

Bad Advertising Bans

In Australia physicians are currently banned from recommending COVID vaccines as this is considered a form of advertising.  (See also this twitter thread). Crazy, but then I am reminded that one year ago Britain’s Advertisement Standards Authority banned advertisements for masks ruling that: Public Health England did not recommend the use of face masks as […]

Canada: An Official Strong Recommendation for First Doses First

Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), a scientific advisory group to the government, has made a forceful and dramatic statement strongly favoring First Doses First (delay the second dose.) This is a very big deal for the entire world. Basically NACI have endorsed everything that Tyler and I have said on First Doses First […]

Why Didn’t Congress Fund Operation Warp Speed!?

STAT is reporting a ‘scandal’: The Trump administration quietly took around $10 billion from a fund meant to help hospitals and health care providers affected by Covid-19 and used the money to bankroll Operation Warp Speed contracts, four former Trump administration officials told STAT. The NYTimes tried to create a similar scandal back in June […]

More from Sure

The excellent Sure in the comments. I would draw attention to “I believe in evidence based medicine, not eminence based medicine” from last time and “methodolotry” from today. And to think this website is free. One of the most frustrating things about this pandemic is how much people are unwilling to make a decision in […]

Canada Moves to First Doses First

The Canadian province of British Columbia has moved to First Doses First (as I suggested they would) with a four month (not three as in Great Britain) delay on the second dose. Quebec is already using FDF. I believe that the rest of Canada will follow shortly: Also on Monday, the province announced it is […]

The English Data Support First Doses First

A new study from Public Health England shows that both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccine work well from the first dose. If that sounds familiar it’s because the results are similar to those found in Scotland. The results cover all adults in England aged 70 years and older (over 7.5 million people). Vaccination with either […]

A Biden Plan for World Vaccination

Canada has approved the AstraZeneca vaccine. The US has not. The US has paid for an AstraZeneca factory in Baltimore and stockpiled millions of doses. The US should lease the factory to Canada or simply make the doses available for export. The same factory will also produce the J&J vaccine so it’s possible that there […]

Seatbelt Now or Wait for Airbag?

Should you take a less efficacious vaccine or wait for a more efficacious vaccine? The individual and social incentives are in conflict. For society as a whole it’s typically much better if everyone takes the less efficacious vaccine sooner. We show one example of this in the supplementary material to the Science Paper with details […]

Single-Shot and First Doses First

The FDA panel voted unanimously to authorize the J&J vaccine. Good. Note, however, that the single-shot J&J vaccine is quite comparable to the first dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Yet, few people are demanding that J&J be required to offer a second shot at all, let alone in 3-4 weeks (What about vaccine […]

Market Design to Accelerate Vaccine Supply

Market design to accelerate COVID-19 vaccine supply is my new paper in Science, co-authored with Camilo Castillo, Michael Kremer, Eric Budish, Susan Athey and others. We make three vital points. First, governments invested much less than our group advised. We spent trillions on fiscal support and maybe $20 billion or so on vaccines, far too […]

A Majority of Doses are Now Second Doses

As of Feb. 18 (last day of full data) we gave out 817,708 second doses and just 702,426 first doses. In other words, a majority of doses are now second doses. As Daniel Bier writes this means that we are boosting some people from ~85% to ~95% protected when we could be vaccinated more first […]

Duke is a Trademark Bully!

Duke University has gone to incredibly and absurd lengths to contest other people’s trademark applications. For example, Duke opposed the following marks by filing with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board : “The Dude Diet” for a diet-related website “Kuke” for electronic products “Goluke” for clothing “Le Duc” for food and drink services they have […]

The AstraZeneca Vaccine Works Well

A new study looking at essentially the entirety of the Scottish population finds that both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccine work very well at preventing hospitalizations from the first dose. UK policy for use of vaccines against COVID-19 involves an offer of a first dose followed by a second dose 12 weeks later. To our […]

Hungary’s Vaccine Approval Rule

AP: Hungarian health authorities were the first in the EU to approve the Sinopharm jab for emergency use on Jan. 29. That came after a government decree streamlined Hungary’s vaccine approval process by allowing any vaccine administered to at least 1 million people worldwide to be used without undergoing review by the country’s medicines regulator. […]

From the Comments, On FDF

Sure and Tom Meadowcraft have been hitting it out of the ballpark in the comments sections. Two examples. Sure: Protocol was made to serve man, not man to serve the protocol. The reason we have protocols is because we need to weight the harms of waiting without a treatment against the harms that happen if […]

The First Dose is Good

WSJ: The Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE generates robust immunity after one dose and can be stored in ordinary freezers instead of at ultracold temperatures, according to new research and data released by the companies. The findings provide strong arguments in favor of delaying the second dose of the two-shot vaccine, […]

Myopic Voters and Natural Disaster Policy

Do voters effectively hold elected officials accountable for policy decisions? Using data on natural disasters, government spending, and election returns, we show that voters reward the incumbent presidential party for delivering disaster relief spending, but not for investing in disaster preparedness spending. These inconsistencies distort the incentives of public officials, leading the government to underinvest […]

Canada and First Doses First

…With such a highly protective first dose, the benefits derived from a scarce supply of vaccine could be maximized by deferring second doses until all priority group members are offered at least one dose. There may be uncertainty about the duration of protection with a single dose, but the administration of a second dose within […]

Canada and Novavax

Canada has made some smart moves with the Novavax vaccine. First, they initiated a rolling review of the Novavax vaccine in late January which suggests that they might authorize the vaccine based on the British trial before the US trial is concluded. The FDA will probably wait until the US trial is concluded. Second, Canada […]

Against Regulatory Nationalism

I’ve long argued that if a drug or medical device is approved in another country with a Stringent Regulatory Authority it ought to be approved in the United States. But, of course, the argument is even stronger in the other direction. Drugs and devices approved in the United States ought to be approved elsewhere. Indeed, […]

Half Doses of Moderna Produce Neutralizing Antibodies

A new phase II study from Moderna shows that half-doses (50 μg) appear to be as good as full doses (100 ug) at generating correlates of protection such as neutralizing antibodies. In this randomized, controlled phase 2 trial, the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate mRNA-1273, administered as a two-dose vaccination regimen at 50 and 100 μg, exhibited […]