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Most Nordic countries flattened the curve

Summary:
I’m not sure the precise definition of “Nordic”, but these countries seem to fit the bill: Switzerland was hit hardest in its Italian section, so it’s less of an outlier than it appears. The Netherlands is clearly an outlier, although it has also flattened the curve. In the US, the death rate appears to be falling rapidly. The average death rate has been about 5% of reported cases (although closer to 1% of actual cases.) Now the marginal death rate of newly reported cases is falling very fast, and may soon fall close to 1%. The actual death rate relative to total actual cases will likely fall far below 1%, albeit not as low as in Singapore. A portion of this may be increased testing or better medical care, but it seems to be mostly due to illnesses shifting

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I’m not sure the precise definition of “Nordic”, but these countries seem to fit the bill:

Most Nordic countries flattened the curve

Switzerland was hit hardest in its Italian section, so it’s less of an outlier than it appears. The Netherlands is clearly an outlier, although it has also flattened the curve.

In the US, the death rate appears to be falling rapidly. The average death rate has been about 5% of reported cases (although closer to 1% of actual cases.) Now the marginal death rate of newly reported cases is falling very fast, and may soon fall close to 1%. The actual death rate relative to total actual cases will likely fall far below 1%, albeit not as low as in Singapore.

A portion of this may be increased testing or better medical care, but it seems to be mostly due to illnesses shifting from the old to the young. Of course this is exactly what economic theory would predict, as the cost of socializing for the young is far smaller (much less risk of death) and the benefit is probably higher—romance!!

I don’t have any normative claims here, just some data I thought were interesting.

PS. Check out the link above; you can create your own graph.

PPS. The US is a bit above the Netherlands, with a steeper line. Most of the big European countries are similar to Sweden, if not higher. But Sweden is rising faster.

PPPS. Quebec, the northeastern US, France, Italy, Spain and Belgium were all hit very hard. What would happen if an epidemiological study put in a dummy variable for “historically Catholic”?


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Scott Sumner
Scott B. Sumner is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, the Director of the Program on Monetary Policy at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and an economist who teaches at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. His economics blog, The Money Illusion, popularized the idea of nominal GDP targeting, which says that the Fed should target nominal GDP—i.e., real GDP growth plus the rate of inflation—to better "induce the correct level of business investment".

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