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Tag Archives: Current Affairs

The biggest supply chain risk right now?

Trump administration officials are asking India to lift restrictions to give the U.S. access to pharmaceutical ingredients needed to produce a range of drugs, amid fears of a potential U.S. drug supply shortage prompted by the coronavirus outbreak, three sources familiar with the matter told NBC News. The two governments are holding discussions aimed at easing newly imposed restrictions on pharmaceutical exports from India, which Delhi introduced to ensure the country would have medicine...

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A Solution if We Act

Many simulations have been run in recent weeks using standard epidemiological models and the emerging consensus, as I read it, is that test, trace and isolate can be very effective. Paul Romer’s simulations are here and he notes that a COVID-19 test does not have to be especially accurate for the test, trace and isolate strategy to work. Indeed, you don’t even need to trace, if you test enough people. Linnarsson and Taipale agree writing: We propose an additional intervention that...

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Oregon Closes Online Schools!!!

Well this has got to be the dumbest thing I have read all week: WW: The Oregon Department of Education has closed the state’s online charter schools under Gov. Kate Brown’s order to close public schools to halt the spread of COVID-19, according to a document obtained by WW. …Marc Siegel, a spokesman for the Oregon Department of Education, confirms that although Brown’s order did not explicitly call for the closure of online charters, state education officials...

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Who and what will rise and fall in status?

A reader asks: will we see a post from you with predictions of ‘risers & fallers’ in our new coronowartime world?…What are your predictions for (semi-) permanent changes in status of various insititutions & ideologies in the new times?! Here goes: Risers Health care workers — duh, and much deserved. The internet and the tech community more broadly — Their institutions have performed the best, and even Anand G. has more or less recanted. Big business...

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Price dispersion and pandemics

Price dispersion is an excellent indicator of transactional frictions. It isn’t that absent price dispersion, we can confidently say that frictions are negligible. Frictions can be substantial even when price dispersion is zero. For instance, if the search costs are high enough that it makes it irrational to search, all the sellers will price the good at the buyer’s Willingness To Pay (WTP). Third world tourist markets, which are full of hawkers selling the same thing at the same...

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Sicken Thy Neighbor Trade Policy

A number of countries have imposed export bans on medical equipment. This is a natural, knee-jerk, reaction but a mistake for two reasons. First, no country in the world produces everything it needs. An export ban imposed by one country benefits that country but when all countries ban exports, it’s likely that no country is better off and all are worse off. A prisoner’s dilemma. The prisoner’s dilemma is even worse than the basic analysis indicates because supply chains are...

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Where does all the heterogeneity come from?

Here is a Christopher Balding tweet storm, excerpt: Iceland has done almost 14k tests on an island of 360k so more than 3% of the total population…They have more than 800 confirmed cases, 10k people in quarantine, 800 in isolation, 18 hospitalizations, 6 in ICU, and 2 dead…About how many people SHOULD have corona if the spread etc numbers are accurate. As of March 27, Iceland would be expected to have more than 46k people that have corona. Emphasis this is on an island of 360k and...

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The Defense Production Act

In my post, Let the Markets Work, I argued that the Defense Production Act was “neither especially useful nor necessary.” The earlier post focused on how markets were working to address the crisis. Today, we can see the flip side, how the government is working to address the crisis. The NYTimes reported on Thursday that the government was balking on a deal to buy ventilators The White House had been preparing to reveal on Wednesday a joint venture between General Motors and Ventec...

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Are many more people infected than we think?

Here is the Clive Cookson FT piece (with an irresponsible headline).  Here is the Lourenco new Oxford study, only a few pp.  Miles Kimball offers analysis and numerous references. Here is the Bendavid and Bhattacharya WSJ piece that perhaps has had the biggest popular influence.  They argue that many more people have had Covid-19 than we think, the number of asymptotic cases is very large, and the fatality of the virus is much lower than we think, perhaps not much worse than the flu.  But...

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The coronavirus situation in Japan is probably much worse than you think

I have been corresponding with a working group regarding the covid-19 situation in Japan.  They shared a draft of their white paper with me while attempting to circulate their revisionist conclusions in policy circles. The speed premium is indeed increasing quickly.  The white paper has not materially changed since when I first saw it. Since then, the Olympics were postponed and experts in Japan have described the outbreak as “rampant.”  The working group feels that society needs to prepare,...

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