What more can I say, other than that Jonathan Wagner is right?: Jonathan Wagner https://twitter.com/JonathanJWagner/status/1242451945115320321: 'Donald Trump says: At 15 cases: "Within a couple of days, it'll be close to zero". At 9,000 cases: "It's a war. It's a very tough situation". At 46,000 cases: We're safe. Let's reopen America. Are you ready to trust that kind of unstable judgment right now? I'm definitely not...

As near as I can see, the Trump administration's coronavirus strategy—if it can be said to have a strategy at all—is to dither, doing the very minimum that the public health experts drive it to do well hoping that coronavirus will, like the standard flu, meltaway as the northern hemisphere warms up in the spring. This is a very low odds existential Bette to be making. If anyone has any insight into why they are making it, I would appreciate being dropped a line. Here we have somebody who knows what he is talking about explaining why this is the most draw-to-an-inside-straightish draw to an inside straight: Marc Lipsitch: Seasonality of SARS-CoV-2: Will COVID-19 Go Away on Its Own in Warmer Weather? https://ccdd.hsph.harvard.edu/will-covid-19-go-away-on-its-own-in-warmer-weather/: 'Even seasonal infections can happen “out of season” when they are new. New viruses have a temporary but important advantage—few or no individuals in the population are immune to them.  Old viruses, which have been in the population for longer, operate on a thinner margin—most individuals are immune, and they have to make do with transmitting among the few who aren’t. In simple terms, viruses that have been around for a long time can make a living—spread through the population—only when the conditions are the most favorable, in this case in winter. The consequence is that new viruses—like pandemic influenza—can spread outside the normal season for their longer-established cousins. For example in 2009, the pandemic started in April-May (well outside of flu season), quieted in the summer (perhaps because of the importance of children in transmission of flu), and then rebounded in September-October, before the start of normal flu season. Seasonality does not constrain pandemic viruses the way it does old ones. This pattern is common for flu pandemics. For the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, we have reason to expect that like other betacoronaviruses, it may transmit somewhat more efficiently in winter than summer, though we don’t know the mechanism(s) responsible. The size of the change is expected to be modest, and not enough to stop transmission on its own.  Based on the analogy of pandemic flu, we expect that SARS-CoV-2, as a virus new to humans, will face less immunity and thus transmit more readily even outside of the winter season. Changing seasons and school vacation may help, but are unlikely to stop transmission. Urgent for effective policy is to determine if children are important transmitters, in which case school closures may help slow transmission, or not, in which case resources would be wasted in such closures. Previously it was thought children were not easily infected with SARS-CoV-2. Recent evidence from Shenzhen suggests that children may be infected and shed detectable virus at about the same rate as adults—so now the only question is whether they transmit as readily. It seems likely the answer is yes, but no data as of this writing to my knowledge...

Not to dunk on atheists—they are as moral as the next (wo)man, and much less likely to do evil things in a belief that some deity commands them. But if one lacks charity and empathy, fear of the LORD might substitute. That, at least, has been the argument for religion as a cement of social order down the ages. So now I have to ask: are all right-wing politicians and writers (save Mitt Romney) confirmed atheists? Certain that this is all here is, so you have to grab all the goodies you can with both hands right now? Is that any way to live?: Kevin Drum: Trump Says Jump; Wingers Ask How High https://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2020/03/trump-says-jump-wingers-ask-how-high/: 'Modern conservative politics is remarkable. Two days ago it felt like everyone was totally on board with school closings and quarantines and social distancing. It was the new reality. Then Donald Trump announced that he didn’t really believe the experts after all and wanted to re-open the economy. Within 24 hours I swear that practically every conservative in the country was suddenly in agreement—or seriously considering it at the very least. All Trump had to do was open his mouth to produce a right-wing U-turn so violent you could almost hear the necks snapping. How has Trump done this?...

## The Trump Administration’s Epic COVID-19 Failure: Project Syndicate

Project Syndicate: The Trump Administration’s Epic COVID-19 Failure https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/trump-covid19-testing-failure-by-j-bradford-delong-2020-03: 'Whereas many other countries afflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic have pursued mass testing, quarantines, and other measures to reduce community transmission, the Trump administration has simply dithered. Although America could still shut down for a month to overcome the crisis, the sad truth is that it won't. BERKELEY—Even to US President Donald Trump’s most ardent critics, his administration’s disastrous response to the COVID-19 pandemic has come as a surprise. Who would have guessed that Trump and his cronies would be so incompetent that merely testing for the disease would become a major bottleneck?

## Dealing with Coronavirus: The Hunker Down and the Jubilee

The problem of dealing with the economic policy consequences of the current coronavirus public health emergency is best analyzed in two pieces: the Jubilee, and the Hunker Down.

### Bringing the Jubilee

What is the Jubilee? It happens after we have managed to get the virus under control, so that normal public health measures of (1) testing a random panel sample periodically to understand where we are, (2) testing the symptomatic, (3) tracing and testing their contacts, and (4) hospitalizing patients with serious illnesses can manage the situation as best as it can be managed.

Note: I say “managed” rather than eliminated. The extent of asymptomatic transmission means that this disease will not be eliminated. It will become endemic. The task is to delay until our virologists can work their miracles. The task is to delay so that the medical care system is not overwhelmed so that we can keep mortality from the disease at 1% rather than 5% or more.

Once the virus is under control—by June 1, say—we will want every job that existed on February 1 and every business that was running on February 1 to resume. We will want no business to have received a “bankruptcy shut down“ from the market system. We will want no worker to have a received a “you are not wanted“ signal from the market economy.

There is a side constraint on the Jubilee: whatever policies we adopt need to be crafted to minimize unjust enrichment. Perhaps the second biggest economic policy mistake committed by the Obama administration was that its policies to deal with the great recession were both inadequate out of the fear of being perceived to contribute to unjust enrichment, and yet somehow also managed to generate a huge amount of unjust enrichment for the financial sector.

### Hunkering Down

Then there is the question of how to manage the Hunker Down. In the Hunker Down, social distancing needs to reach a level that reduces the caseload to what the medical system can currently handle, but should not be pushed far beyond that point. Beyond that point, the benefits of generating a situation in which our ICUs and emergency rooms have excess capacity are low and the costs are high. In the Hunker Down, as many people as possible need to be given financial incentives to move into new productive occupations that provide useful goods and services without disrupting social distance. And in the hunker down, everyone needs to receive the income flow they need to pay their bills.

Managing the Hunker Down and bringing the Jubilee are two separate problems that need to be designed and implemented separately. We need to think about both. We need to keep worries about bringing the Jubilee from damaging our ability to undertake the Hunker Down. We need to keep inplementing the Hunker Down from impairing our power to bring the Jubilee.

Continue reading "Dealing with Coronavirus: The Hunker Down and the Jubilee" »

## It Looks as Though Very Evil People Named Kudlow, Laffer, and Moore Have Been Telling a Very Stupid President Very Misleading Things

The odds are that some very evil people—I am looking at you, Steve Moore; I am looking at you, Larry Kudlow; I am looking at you, Art Laffer—have been telling a very stupid president very misleading things:

"[Some states] have virtually no problem or a very small problem..." "We don't have to test an entire state in the Middle West, or wherever they may be..." "A lot of those states could go back right now, and they probably will..."

The only states whose populations are less than 50% urban are Maine, Vermont, West Virginia, and Mississippi. For every case of coronavirus we see, there are likely more than 20 we do not currently see.

West Virginia's five largest cities—Charleston 47,215, Huntington 46,048, Morgantown 30,955, Parkersburg 29,675, Wheeling 26,771—might make it the only state in which they are still free from self-sustaining community transmission.

But probably not.

Probably there are about 200 cases in each of those cities, now spreading. And probably Kentucky, West Virginia, and Puerto Rico are the only states in which coronavirus is more than 15 days behind its pace and prevalence in New York. (Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Virginia I see as most likely much closer to New York in time—they just have not been testing.)

Continue reading "It Looks as Though Very Evil People Named Kudlow, Laffer, and Moore Have Been Telling a Very Stupid President Very Misleading Things" »

Louisiana, thanks to Mardi Gras, is now the second most intensive coronavirus hot spot in terms of reported cases (behind NY-NJ) in America. What must it be like being John Bel Edwards right now? Did he not see what was coming when he decided to not cancel Mardi Gras on Feb 25? Or was he scared?:

Office of Governor John Bel Edwards https://gov.louisiana.gov/page/meet-the-governor: 'On January 11, 2016, John Bel Edwards was sworn in as the 56th Governor of Louisiana. In his first official act, Gov. Edwards signed an executive order to expand Medicaid coverage to 430,000 of the state’s working poor. The decision to expand Medicaid cut Louisiana’s uninsured rate from 24 percent to just 10 percent, saving lives and improving the quality of life for citizens across the state. Gov. Edwards considers this the easiest big decision he’s had to make as Governor...

Mitch Smith & al.: Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-us-cases.html: 'At the start of March, with large outbreaks already reported on both coasts, officials in Louisiana had not yet identified a single case of the coronavirus. But in the days since, the state has been pummeled. By Tuesday morning, 1,793 Louisianans had been infected and at least 65 had died. "Our trajectory is basically the same as what they had in Italy,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said last week as he restricted public gatherings and urged people to stay inside...

Comment of the Day: Ronald Brakels: On First Things and R.E. Reno's Mammon-Coronavirus Death Cult https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/03/from-_first-things_-rr-reno-tells-us-that-a-culture-of-life-is-all-very-fine-when-it-comes-to-bullying-women-but-not-wh.html#comment-6a00e551f0800388340240a519c2e9200b: 'Not cancelling a small dinner party is exactly the same as refusing to cower under the Nazi heel and allowing the death camps to operate for a generation. Therefore, by imagining having a small dinner party, I personally am as great as Churchill or possibly Jesus of Nazareth. I haven't decided yet. If only they'd had a love child, Jeston of Nazhill...

Comment of the Day: JEC: On First Things and Its Mammon-Coronavirus Death Cult https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/03/from-_first-things_-rr-reno-tells-us-that-a-culture-of-life-is-all-very-fine-when-it-comes-to-bullying-women-but-not-wh.html?cid=6a00e551f0800388340240a4f519bf200d#comment-6a00e551f0800388340240a4f519bf200d: 'I see a number of lessons to be learned here. Lesson 1: Don't read Twitter. It never ends well. Lesson 2: If your desire to be "interesting" leads you to celebrate an apocalyptic death cult, reconsider your life choices. Lesson 3: If someone invites you to a literal Masque of the Red Death, chain them to an alcove in your basement and wall them up. This is an important public health measure....

From First Things. R.R. Reno tells us that a "Culture of Life" is all very fine when it comes to bullying women, but not when it begins to interfere in even a minor way with the worship of the true God: Mammon, in the form of a higher value of he DJIA. And I must say, Matthew 25 does not command people to hold dinner parties during a plague so that their guests can infect one another: First Things: "There is a demonic side to the sentimentalism of saving lives at any cost. https://twitter.com/firstthingsmag/status/1242174110035214338: 'R.R. Reno: "Satan rules a kingdom in which the ultimate power of death is announced morning, noon, and night.... This is what is happening in New York as I write. The media maintain a drumbeat of warnings. And the message is not just that you or I might end up in an overloaded emergency room gasping for air. We are more often reminded that we can communicate the virus to others and cause their deaths.... The mass shutdown of society to fight the spread of COVID-19 creates a perverse, even demonic atmosphere.... We... are collectively required to cower in fear—fear that we’ll die redoubled by the fear that we’ll cause others to die. We are stripped of whatever courage we might be capable of. Were I to host a small dinner party tonight, wanting to resist the paranoia and hysteria, I would be denounced.... Alexander Solzhenitsyn resolutely rejected the materialist principle of “survival at any price.” It strips us of our humanity. This holds true for a judgment about the fate of others as much as it does for ourselves. We must reject the specious moralism that places fear of death at the center of life. Fear of death and causing death is pervasive—stoked by a materialistic view of survival at any price and unchecked by Christian leaders who in all likelihood secretly accept the materialist assumptions of our age. As long as we allow fear to reign, it will cause nearly all believers to fail to do as Christ commands in Matthew 25. It already is..."

## The Trump Administration Has Made America #1: Worst in the World at Coronavirus Response

The trajectory of cases since the 100th reported case is now "ahead" of all other counries. The Trump administration truly has made America #1!

Donald Trump: Coronavirus Statements https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/03/12/trump-coronavirus-timeline/:

Jan. 22: “We have it totally under control.”

Jan. 24: “It will all work out well.”

Jan. 29: “We have the best experts anywhere in the world, and they are on top of it 24/7!”

Jan. 30: “We think we have it very well under control. We have very little problem in this country at this moment—five. And those people are all recuperating successfully."

Feb. 2: “Well, we pretty much shut it down coming in from China."

Feb. 10: “I think the virus is going to be—it’s going to be fine.”

Feb. 14: “We have a very small number of people in the country, right now, with it. It’s like around 12. Many of them are getting better. Some are fully recovered already. So we’re in very good shape.”

Feb. 19: “I think it’s going to work out fine. I think when we get into April, in the warmer weather, that has a very negative effect on that and that type of a virus. So let’s see what happens, but I think it’s going to work out fine.”

Feb. 24: “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA.… Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”

Feb. 25: “You may ask about the coronavirus, which is very well under control in our country. We have very few people with it, and the people that have it are... We’re doing a great job.”

Feb. 26: “Because of all we’ve done, the risk to the American people remains very low.… When you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero. That’s a pretty good job we’ve done."

Feb. 26: "We’re ready for it. It is what it is. We’re ready for it. We’re really prepared."

Feb. 27: “Only a very small number in U.S., and China numbers look to be going down. All countries working well together!”

Feb. 28: “I think it’s really going well. We did something very fortunate: we closed up to certain areas of the world very, very early—far earlier than we were supposed to. I took a lot of heat for doing it. It turned out to be the right move, and we only have 15 people and they are getting better, and hopefully they’re all better. There’s one who is quite sick, but maybe he’s gonna be fine."

Feb. 28: “It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”

Feb. 29: “We’re the number-one travel destination anywhere in the world, yet we have far fewer cases of the disease than even countries with much less travel or a much smaller population.”

March 4: “Some people will have this at a very light level and won’t even go to a doctor or hospital, and they’ll get better. There are many people like that.”

March 5: “With approximately 100,000 CoronaVirus cases worldwide, and 3,280 deaths, the United States, because of quick action on closing our borders, has, as of now, only 129 cases (40 Americans brought in) and 11 deaths.”

March 6: “Calm. You have to be calm. It’ll go away.”

March 7: “It came out of China, and we heard about it. And made a good move: We closed it down; we stopped it. Otherwise—the head of CDC said last night that you would have thousands of more problems if we didn’t shut it down very early. That was a very early shutdown, which is something we got right."

March 9: “The Fake News Media and their partner, the Democrat Party, is doing everything within its semi-considerable power (it used to be greater!) to inflame the CoronaVirus situation, far beyond what the facts would warrant."

March 9: “So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!”

March 10: “As you know, it’s about 600 cases, it’s about 26 deaths, within our country. And had we not acted quickly, that number would have been substantially more.”

March 10: “We’re prepared, and we’re doing a great job with it. And it will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.”

March 11: “I think we’re going to get through it very well.”

March 12: “The United States, because of what I did and what the administration did with China, we have 32 deaths at this point… when you look at the kind of numbers that you’re seeing coming out of other countries, it’s pretty amazing when you think of it.”

March 13: “[FDA] will bring, additionally, 1.4 million tests on board next week and 5 million within a month. I doubt we’ll need anywhere near that.”

March 14: “We’re using the full power of the federal government to defeat the virus, and that’s what we’ve been doing.”

March 15: “This is a very contagious virus. It’s incredible. But it’s something that we have tremendous control over”...

Continue reading "The Trump Administration Has Made America #1: Worst in the World at Coronavirus Response" »

*Note to Self: Reported Coronavirus Cases per Million (2020-03-22 12:00:00 PDT):

Top 20 States;

NY: 1200
WA: 236
NJ: 215
LA: 182
DC: 145
MI: 89
CO: 82
MA: 77
RI: 75
MS: 69
ME: 68
CT: 62
NV: 61
IL: 59
TN: 55
WI: 55
GA: 48
UT: 43
FL: 40
CA: 40

#coronavirus #notetoself #publichealth #2020-03-22


Comment of the Day: The Trump Administration Has Made America #1: Worst in the World at Coronavirus Response: Ronald Brakels https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/03/the-trump-administration-has-made-america-1-worst-in-the-world-at-coronavirus-response.html#comment-6a00e551f080038834025d9b3f29b6200c: 'Australia's Coronavirus fiscal stimulus is 9.7% of GDP. I think this is the largest peacetime fiscal stimulus by a developed nation. Hopefully, now they are taking the economic effects seriously, the Australian Federal Government will start taking the disease seriously. At least Western Australia and South Australia have islanded themselves, while Tasmania actually is an island. The other three states though... Well, you can walk between them being eaten by a shark, a dingo, or desolation...

## Economic Growth in Historical Comparative Perspective: Assignment 8: Economic Growth in Historical Perspective

Econ 135: Assignment 8: Character of Modern Economic Growth Paper https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/03/economic-growth-in-historical-comparative-perspective-assignment-8-economic-growth-in-historical-perspective.html: Explain, in about 500 words, how the character of modern economic growth as it has been seen in the world since 1870 differs from economic growth—or not-growth—in previous eras since the invention of agriculture. Upload your short essay to this webpage. Submitting: a text entry box. Due Apr 8 at 11:59pm...

Continue reading "Economic Growth in Historical Comparative Perspective: Assignment 8: Economic Growth in Historical Perspective" »

## Lecture Notes: Inequality

Philosophers, of course, if there are any in the audience here, will have winced by now. Perhaps they will have done more than winced—although I did not see any philosophers rise and run, screaming, from the room.

I have drawn strong conclusions about how high and important a priority reducing inequality should be for making a good society by being a bad philosopher. Philosophers would presumably say that I should first be a good philosopher. They would say that only after having reached good philosophical conclusions should I then use those conclusions as a springboard to derive “oughts” for political economy.

The problem, of course, is that there is no agreement on what the good philosophical conclusions are.

Continue reading "Lecture Notes: Inequality" »

Catherine Rampell has good ideas for how the press could do its proper job. Her ideas meet enthusiastic approval: Mistermix: This, This, This https://www.balloon-juice.com/2020/01/02/this-this-this/: 'Catherine Rampell has a few resolutions for the media. This one really hit home: "Don’t spend more time analyzing an idea that the president proposes than he spent coming up with it. This one is hard, I know. Sometimes Trump says things that are just so wrong, in so many ways, that it’s difficult to resist the urge to enumerate all the details of their wrongness. But a 4 a.m. cyberbullying toilet tweet about Kim Jong Un doesn’t necessarily mean there’s an actual, deliberate shift in diplomatic strategy. A blurted parenthetical about how he’d love to pass a middle-class tax cut, the biggest tax cut ever, doesn’t mean he seriously plans to propose such a thing. Let’s not pretend a secret plan actually exists and then conjure up tea leaves for experts to read. Don’t impute more seriousness or thoughtfulness than ad-libbed drivel deserves." Trump’s Twitter feed is like a chicken shit cannon from which the media is constantly trying to make chicken salad. It’s a goddam waste of time and the sooner they find a way to ignore most of it, the better for all of us...

Jennifer Ouellette: _It’s the Network, Stupid: _ https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/01/its-the-network-stupid-study-offers-fresh-insight-into-why-were-so-divided/: 'Study offers fresh insight into why we’re so divided: social perception bias might simply be an emergent property of our social networks. Eun Lee [and] Fariba Karimi... decided to collaborate on a study of the effect of "homophily"—people's tendency to hang out with those who are similar to them (think "birds of a feather flock together")—on people's perceptions using network models. They came up with a generic binary model dividing individual nodes into two groups: Democrat or Republican, smoking or non-smoking, male or female, immigrants or nonimmigrants, for example. The model treated people as individual nodes in a network, with no consideration of human cognitive processes. The emergence of perception biases depended solely on the relative sizes of the majority and minority groups, and the extent to which like nodes connected to other like nodes...

Very interesting: whenever "one side of a social divide regards the political system as flawed or illegitimate," then lies become the truth. Those who feel like disrespected outsiders can regard a lying demagogue or their authentic champion. Their authentic appeal is precisely that they delegitimize what their supporters regard as an illegitimate system. Thus Trump's core supporters know full well that he constantly lies, and love it. young is not a bug but a feature: Oliver Hahl, Minjae Kim, Ezra W. Zuckerman Sivan: The Authentic Appeal of the Lying Demagogue: Proclaiming the Deeper Truth about Political Illegitimacy8 https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0003122417749632: 'We develop and test a theory to address a puzzling pattern that has been discussed widely since the 2016 U.S. presidential election and reproduced here in a post-election survey: how can a constituency of voters find a candidate “authentically appealing” (i.e., view him positively as authentic) even though he is a “lying demagogue” (someone who deliberately tells lies and appeals to non-normative private prejudices)? Key to the theory are two points: (1) “common-knowledge” lies may be understood as flagrant violations of the norm of truth-telling; and (2) when a political system is suffering from a “crisis of legitimacy” (Lipset 1959) with respect to at least one political constituency, members of that constituency will be motivated to see a flagrant violator of established norms as an authentic champion of its interests. Two online vignette experiments on a simulated college election support our theory. These results demonstrate that mere partisanship is insufficient to explain sharp differences in how lying demagoguery is perceived, and that several oft-discussed factors—information access, culture, language, and gender—are not necessary for explaining such differences. Rather, for the lying demagogue to have authentic appeal, it is sufficient that one side of a social divide regards the political system as flawed or illegitimate...

## Worthy Reads for March 20, 2019

1. Alan Krueger's suicide is horrible and tragic news. All sympathy to his family. He was a light that shone very brightly for good into many dark corners. May his memory be a blessing: Heather Boushey: [Remembrance: Alan Krueger(https://equitablegrowth.org/press/remembrance-alan-krueger/): "We at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Alan Krueger. He was devoted to serving the public and to ensuring that economics was not only about theory but about improving people’s lives.... As a pioneer in the use of natural experiments as the basis for economic research, his work helped create a paradigm shift in the discipline itself.... The lessons learned from the advances in economics in-no-small-part pioneered by Alan underlay much of the cutting edge of economics—and the work we do at Equitable Growth to show how inequality affects economic growth...

2. I have been waiting for this for a while: it's very good. David R. Howell and Arne L. Kalleberg: Declining Job Quality in the United States: Explanations and Evidence: "We group... explanations... into three broad visions... the competitive market model, in which supply and demand for worker skills in competitive external labor markets generates a single market wage by skill group... contested market models, in which... firms typically have substantial bargaining (monopsony) power; and social-institutional models, which... place greater emphasis on the public policies, formal and informal institutions, and the dynamics of workplace cultures and conflict.... The supply-demand explanation, which has focused on evidence of occupational employment polarization (driven by skill-biased production technologies) and the rise in the college-wage premium.... We conclude by summarizing policy recommendations that follow from each of these visions...

3. Well worth your time chasing the links from this review of work Equitable Growth has published over the past several years on women's roles. At the root, I think, is that a great many of our economic and societal practices reflect gender reality as it stood 50, 100, or 150 years ago—and both biological and even more societal reality as it stood then was hardly conducive to the empowerment of women. Recall that two centuries ago an overwhelming proportion of women became mothers, that the typical mother stood a one-in-seven chance of dying in childbed, and that the typical mother (if she survived) would spend twenty years eating for two—pregnant or nursing—in a world in which childcare-by-non-relatives was a thing for only the upper class. Legacy institutions from that time are unlikely to serve today's women—or men—well: Equitable Growth: Equitable Growth’s History of Focusing on Women’s Role in the Economy: A Review: "How women are reshaping the American economy.... Gender wage inequality.... Paid family and medical leave.... Women... [and] family economic security.... The gender gap in economics.... The link between bodily autonomy and economic opportunity.... The wages of care.... Motherhood penalties..

4. The Gap asked researchers to quantify the benefits from offering its employees more regular schedules. The benefits are substantial: Alix Gould-Wirth: Retail workers' Unpredictable Schedules Affect Sleep Quality:: "Retail outlets of The Gap, Inc.... surprising connections between retail workers’ schedules and their sleep patterns.... Joan C. Williams... Susan Lambert... and Saravanan Kesavan.... A novel, multicomponent intervention.... Randomly assigned 19 stores to a treatment group to implement the intervention and nine stores to a control group that did not implement the intervention. The Gap was so committed to increasing the amount of notice workers had of its scheduled shifts that the company extended two components that were originally planned to be part of the intervention—two-weeks advance notice and the elimination of on-call shifts—to all of its workers in North America prior to the beginning of the experiment. So, this experiment tells policymakers and businesses alike how the multicomponent intervention affects workers’ lives beyond advance notice alone..... The intervention made a substantively (and statistically) significant impact on the sleep quality of workers...

5. And at this I really am crying. There have been a lot of economists behaving very badly indeed in the twenty-six years since I first went to Washington as an adult to start doing economic policy in a serious way. But the late Alan Krueger always behaved well—in communicating with the public, with his colleagues, and with himself. Friend of Equitable Growth Arindrajit Dube puts it best: Arindrajit Dube: "More than any other work,: "More than any other work, Myth and Measurement helped shape my view of building an economics that is open, evidence-driven, and where the core theories can be rejected. Alan Krueger kept reminding us of this, and I won't ever forget it." Alan B. Krueger (May 10, 2018): "Wait. Don’t concede anything. The idea of turning economics into a true empirical science, where core theories can be rejected, is a BIG, revolutionary idea." *Arindrajit Dube (May 10, 2018): "In an empirical science based model of economics, there are fewer 'big thinkers' who dream up of big ideas and more 'plumbers'" Doesn't mean vision and synthesis aren't important, but means knowledge & progress are more emergent than in political economy of 19th/20th century...

Equitable Growth: 🚨TODAY Fr Mar 20 at 1 pm ET🚨 https://twitter.com/equitablegrowth/status/1240963128227254272: ': @rooseveltinst @Groundwork @equitablegrowth invite you to a webinar on The Economy During, and After, the Coronavirus: Making Sense of the Moment. @rooseveltinst @Groundwork @equitablegrowth invite you to a webinar on The Economy During, and After, the Coronavirus: Making Sense of the Moment...

## Assignment: Tell Us What Is Happening to You, and What You Wish For

This epidemic is nasty: one case at a Biogen executives meeting on Feb 26-27 spread the virus to 100 of the 200 meeting participants. It kills 15% of people in their 80s who get it, 8% of people in their 70s, 3% of people in their 60s, 1% of people in their 50s, and is like a bad flue to people younger.

One frequently discussed scenario for coronavirus in the United States is that it now infects one in every two thousand people, that its infection rate doubles every week, that attempts at social distancing will fail to impact the spread of the virus, that the virus will not become less virulent as the northern hemisphere warms up, and the virus will infect half the population before herd and natural immunity bring a halt to it spread here in America.

Under this scenario—which is optimistic, in some senses of the word—this virus kills one million people in the United States. Under this scenario, the number of those infected will double for seven more weeks, at which point one in fifteen will be newly infected, and then the spread will slow—but your chances of catching the virus will still be high—for another twelve weeks before the epidemic is over here. That carries us for five months—until the end of July. And in many other scenarios we are dealing with this for longer, even if we manage to flatten the curve or if this virus is seasonal, and so vanishes this summer to come back next winter.

We are moving the university online: to lecture slides with audio, to zoom sessions, to asynchronous email for office hours, and to take home assignments. But there are lots of other things we could provide you and lots of other interactions we could set up, if it would assist you this spring.

Assignment: _Please write at least 250 words—at least one page—telling us what you want us to know about how your life is going right now, and informing us of your views of how we should organize and run this class going forward. Submit it at:

Complete it, please, by 5 pm Fri Mar 20, but late submissions will not be penalized...

Continue reading "Assignment: Tell Us What Is Happening to You, and What You Wish For" »

Equitable Growth: In Joint Letter, Equitable Growth Asks Congress to ‘Stanch Economic Bleeding’ in Covid-19 Legislative Package https://equitablegrowth.org/in-joint-letter-equitable-growth-asks-congress-to-stanch-economic-bleeding-in-covid-19-legislative-package/: 'Heather Boushey, the president and CEO of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, along with the leaders of three other Washington-based economic think tanks—the Center for American Progress, the Economic Policy Institute, and the Roosevelt Institute—told U.S. congressional leaders in a letter today that legislation to “stanch the economic bleeding” caused by public health actions to contain the COVID-19 virus must include not only direct cash payments but also substantial increases in programs for families most directly affected as well as other steps to support people, businesses, and the overall U.S. economy. With economic activity across the nation shutting down, the four think tank leaders said that workers, families, and small businesses will continue to suffer significant losses. They need to be compensated to cushion the blow as well as limit the economic impact of the business slowdown. The organizations called for Congress to provide the following: Direct cash payments to provide an economic lifeline to families. Dramatically expanded Unemployment Insurance and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits. Emergency actions to stem evictions, address homelessness, and prevent crowding of shelters. Student debt relief to prevent any resources intended to provide economic stimulus from being absorbed by debt servicing of student loans. Financial aid to states, including their health programs, which will be under immense strain as the needs of their residents grow...

Given how our health care system is about to collapse under the weight and that we have a significantly older and hence more vulnerable population in China, the mortality number you should have in your head is, I think, 2% of cases with symptoms: Joseph T. Wu, Kathy Leung, Mary Bushman, Nishant Kishore, Rene Niehus, Pablo M. de Salazar, Benjamin J. Cowling, Marc Lipsitch, and Gabriel M. Leung: Estimating Clinical Severity of Covid-19 from the Transmission Dynamics in Wuhan, China https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-0822-7.pdf: 'As of 29 February 2020 there were 79,394 confirmed cases and 2,838 deaths from COVID-19 in mainland China. Of these, 48,557 cases and 2,169 deaths occurred in the epicenter, Wuhan. A key public health priority during the emergence of a novel pathogen is estimating clinical severity, which requires properly adjusting for the case ascertainment rate and the delay between symptoms onset and death. Using public and published information, we estimate that the over-all symptomatic case fatality risk (the probability of dying after developing symptoms) of COVID-19 in Wuhan was 1.4% (0.9–2.1%), which is substantially lower than both the corresponding crude or naïve confirmed case fatality risk (2,169/48,557 = 4.5%) and the approximator1 of deaths/ deaths + recoveries (2,169/2,169 + 17,572 = 11%) as of 29 February 2020. Compared to those aged 30–59 years, those aged below 30 and above 59 years were 0.6 (0.3–1.1) and 5.1 (4.2–6.1) times more likely to die after developing symptoms. The risk of symptomatic infection increased with age (for example, at ~4% per year among adults aged 30–60 years)...

No comment, other than that the corruption is deep here: Brooke Masters: Senators’ stock sales suggest we might not all be in this together https://www.ft.com/content/a9a295c2-6a8c-11ea-a3c9-1fe6fedcca75: 'Turns out that we might not all be in this together after all. Two Republican US senators offloaded millions of dollars in stock after they had received private briefings about the coronavirus outbreak, but before markets crashed. Stock sales for Kelly Loeffler of Georgia, and her husband Jeffrey Sprecher, who chairs the New York Stock Exchange, started on January 24, the same day her committee hosted an all-senators gathering with top health officials. By mid-February, 27 sales went through for her, worth up to $3.1m. She also acquired shares in two tech companies, Citrix and Oracle, that are expected to benefit from the increase in homeworking. Meanwhile Richard Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, sold 33 stocks worth up to$1.7m on February 13. The North Carolina senator was already under fire for the contrast between the Republican party’s upbeat public statements about the virus and a private speech he gave to VIPs on February 27 warning that the outbreak was “more aggressive in its transmission than anything that we have seen in recent history”. To be fair to the senators, they might have benefited from a hunch. China locked down the city of Wuhan the day before Ms Loeffler’s first sale, and her spokesman has said portfolio investment decisions are made by advisers without her or her husband’s knowledge or involvement. Non-essential manufacturing plants in the surrounding province of Hubei were shut down right before Mr Burr cashed out. But investigators should certainly be asking some questions. It has been illegal for members of Congress and other government employees to trade on secret briefings since the passage of the 2012 “Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act”...

This makes considerable sense: U.S. Private Sector Job Quality Index (JQI) Team: Over 37 Million Jobs Vulnerable To Short-Term Covid-19 Related Layoffs: 'Our finding [is] that that, amidst the COVID-19 crisis, over 37 million U.S. jobs may be vulnerable to potential layoffs in the short term. These are mostly front-line, customer-facing jobs that are predominantly low-wage/low-hours positions, but there are several higher quality job sectors included—such as air transportation—that are seeing shutdowns due to industry-specific, as opposed to generalized, consumer inactivity. These losses could be temporary if aid from the federal government is sufficient to "reset" the status quo ante and offset missed household payments for food, shelter and medical, and small/medium sized businesses’ rent, debt service and other carrying costs during the shutdown—so as to ensure their survival. If, on the other hand, the crisis is allowed to boil over into a full-on, lasting recession, it will be far more severe. Arguably worse than the Great Recession because of the depth of the demand shock. During the Great Recession, unemployment spiked to 10%, but those who remained employed continued consumption, albeit at a subdued rate. The present is a distinctly different situation: A potential unemployment spike to as much as the high teens, accompanied by an actual restriction on consumption caused by limited mobility of consumers. Akin to a severe economic slump and infrastructure-damaging hurricane/blizzard occurring at the same time....

No. It does not seem that the Republican executive branch headed by Donald Trump is acting very competently: David Dayen: Unsanitized: The Ghost of Bailouts Past and Means Testing Presentt https://prospect.org/coronavirus/unsanitized-ghost-bailouts-past-means-testing-present/: 'Here’s a little thing that hasn’t been reported about the Treasury Department’s “term sheet” for the big coronavirus economic response package. If you take a look at the metadata of that document, you’ll see that it has the title “MEMORANDUM FOR SECRETARY PAULSON.” Hank Paulson, of course, was the Republican Treasury Secretary during the last crisis, not this one.... “This cut and paste job is evidence that they are literally working off of the 2008 baseline that led to a bipartisan bailout of the banks and left Main Street and the broader real economy behind,” says David Segal, executive director of the Demand Progress Education Fund.... The Treasury term sheet got adopted in Mitch McConnell’s bill language released yesterday afternoon. The bailouts for the airline industry ($50 billion) and everything else ($150 billion)? Yep, although McConnell added $8 billion for cargo air carriers. There are caps on executive compensation, as Treasury asked for, but also a kind of equity stake with government participation if the value rises. Small businesses get$300 billion in “interruption loans” in both Treasury and McConnell’s imagining; Treasury wanted this to go toward eight weeks of payroll, but McConnell allows rent, mortgage, utilities, or “other debt,” though there are incentives for sustaining employee compensation until the end of June. The temporary use of the Exchange Stabilization Fund to guarantee money markets is also the same. After all that (and a lot more) for businesses, the public gets—a $1,200 check. And they don’t go to everyone, phasing in at half price for those without income tax liability (as many as 75 million people, an unconscionable attack on the poor) and phasing out starting at those earning$75,000 per year, with nothing for those above \$99,000. But that threshold doesn’t reflect anyone’s current, real-world status. Indeed, it’s likely to be based on 2018 tax returns.... Nobody in the leadership of either party has internalized that two year-old figures for determining means testing are completely obsolete...

## The United States Is Now Second Worst in Terms of Coronavirus Response

If we take as our metric the pattern of increase in the number of reported cases since the 100th reported case, the United States is now second worst in the world, behind only China. So that is bad. On the other hand, China now appears to have the coronavirus on the run. We think. It appears. So we could still manage this thing—with governmental competence:

Continue reading "The United States Is Now Second Worst in Terms of Coronavirus Response" »

The reported coronavirus cases, constantly updated. There were only 40% as any case worldwide back on Much 5. As of Fr Mar 20 8:41:42 am pdt: Worldometer: Coronavirus Update (Live) https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/: 'Coronavirus Cases: 256,798.... Deaths: 10,500. Recovered: 89,920. ACTIVE CASES: 156,378. Currently Infected Patients 148,911 (95%) in Mild Condition. 7,467 (5%). Serious or Critical...

The best single webpage on coronavirus I have found. The only thing that annoys me is that they are tracking "confirmed" cases only. This is a major flaw—they should be, in the background and in the shadows, plotting our current "low" and "high" estimates of how far the disease has spread. And they should be plotting "optimistic" and "pessimistic" projections of what the likely spread is going to be. I understand that the public health community has been rather quiet in terms of providing such estimates. But they are what everybody is most interested in: confirmed cases across countries with very different abilities to test doe snot quite cut it: Steve Bernard, Cale Tilford and John Burn-Murdoch: Coronavirus Tracked: The Latest Figures as the Pandemic Spreads https://www.ft.com/content/a26fbf7e-48f8-11ea-aeb3-955839e06441: 'The countries affected, the number of deaths and the economic impact. Be the first to know about every new Coronavirus story. The humanitarian costs of the coronavirus outbreak continue to mount, with more than 250,000 people infected globally. The number of people confirmed to have died as a result of the virus has now surpassed 10,000.  The virus’s proliferation has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, meaning it is spreading rapidly in different parts of the world. More than 150 countries have confirmed cases so far. The epicentre of the coronavirus is now Europe, with the largest number of confirmed cases in Italy, and death tolls growing more quickly in Italy and Spain than they did in China at the same stage of the outbreak. In most western countries case numbers have been increasing by about 33 per cent a day, a sign that other countries may soon be facing the same challenge as Italy...

## Bloomberg-BNN TalkIng Points on Economic Situation

• At the moment, we have a huge negative supply shock
• But as people lose their jobs as a result of this negative supply shock, it is going to turn into a demand shock
• And we also have a very powerful distribution shock as well
• We want to offset the demand shock without overdoing it
• We want to let the prices of goods and services in high demand rise to encourage people to produce more of them
• Hence an interesting policy problem:
• The right inflation rate for the next 3 months is not 2%
• The right inflation rate for the next 3 months is 2% + (share of the economy in high demand) x (how much prices need to rise to boost supply of commoditeis in high mand)/4
• The right monetary policy is... stimulative, but uncertain...
• The right fiscal policy is... stimulative, but uncertain...
• The right distribution policy is... massive boost to unemployment insurance: 100% replacement for those who lose their jobs
• The right lending policy is... lend enough on easy enough terms that businesses stay afloat, but not enough that stockholders make out like bandits—they are risk bearers, aren't they? Handsomely paid. Now is when they earn the money they earn in normal times...

• I really wish the public health people were being louder and more forthcoming...
• Because we do not know where we are
• At the moment, 200 deaths in USA
• Takes 4 weeks to die
• At a 1% death rate, that means 20000 cases in U.S. on Feb 20
• At a 3.33% death rate, that means 6000 cases in U.S. on Feb 20
• If cases have been doubling every 7 days...
• Then at least 100000 cases in the U.S. right now (and our testing is missing 6 out of 7)
• If cases have been doubling every 4 days...
• Then at most 2000000 cases in the U.S. right now (and our current testing is missing nearly everybody)
• We don't know which it is, because Trump said he didn't want bad numbers
• At the moment, 12% of those being tested are coming out as positive
• But to get the true fraction, you need to multiply that 12% by (those who have it who got tested)/(those who have it), and then divide the result by (those who don't have it who got tested)/(those who don't have it).
• & because are testing is messed up AF, we have no idea what those two key ratios are...
• And the Trumpists saluted and slow-walked building up testing capacity
• He should have been impeached and removed from office last week for this High Crime alone...

Continue reading "Bloomberg-BNN TalkIng Points on Economic Situation" »

Betty Cracker: Red State, Blue State https://www.balloon-juice.com/2020/03/19/red-state-blue-state/: 'I asked in the earlier thread if y’all thought Trump would ever be held accountable for his epic bungling. I hold out no hope that he’ll get what he deserves... but will it ever be widely acknowledged that he hideously bungled the coronavirus response, similarly to how W is commonly acknowledged to have fucked up by starting the Iraq War?I don’t know, but it’s vitally important that Trump, his elected and appointed enablers and the media sycophants who propped him up and misled people with disastrous results are held to account. It’s not just a question of having nice things. It’s life or death, as new reporting by The Times underscores...

Nicole Cliffe: I Tried Joe Manganiello's Diet and Workout Regimen https://www.elle.com/beauty/health-fitness/a38304/joe-mangianello-diet-workout-regimen/: 'Should you do this workout plan? I don't know, I'm not your mom.... Joe Manganiello.... You may know Joe as Big Dick Ritchie, or as Sofia Vergara's husband who HASN'T tried stealing her embryos, or as Alcide Herveaux, the sexiest werewolf in Shreveport. But the Joe who matters to us today is this one: Evolution: The Cutting-Edge Guide to Breaking Down Mental Walls and Building the Body You've Always Wanted has been an obsession of mine for a few years now. This is because I really like Joe Manganiello's face and body, and there are many pictures of said face and body contained within.... However, it is also very very funny. Joe Manganiello is one of the most earnest humans who has ever lived. He believes in himself and he believes in you. He probably believes in you more than you believe in yourself.... Okay, now me. I am a 33-year-old mother of two. I have brown and gray hair. One of my eyes is 30 percent smaller than the other. I work out a lot, and have for the last few years.... What Joe outlines in Evolution is, like it says on the tin, a six-week workout and diet routine. It purports to be the exact plan he followed to get in shape for "True Blood". When it occurred to me that it might be fun to do a stunt journalism piece where I followed his plan to the letter for six weeks and wrote about the results, I was in the process of shutting down my website, The Toast, which I had started and run with my friend Mallory Ortberg for the last three years. As you can imagine, I had a lot of feelings about this, and sometimes the best thing to do with too many feelings is to embark on an extremely grueling six-day-a-week workout regimen and refuse to eat any carbs that aren't sweet potatoes, a starch I personally loathe in all its forms...

## 1919: Inevitability and Chance: A Teaser for "Slouching Towards Utopia?: An Economic History of the Long Twentieth Century"

From 1870-1914 we can see global economic history as by-and-large following a logic that was if not inevitable at least probable, or explicable after the fact. Luck and probability gave humanity an opening around 1870 in the form of a quintuple breakthrough: the ideology and policy of an open world, the transportation breakthrough, the communications breakthrough, and—most important the coming of the research laboratory plus the large corporation to to more than double the pace of invention and greatly speed the deployment of new technologies. Thereafter to 1914 the economic logic rolled forward: the idea of invention, the specialization of inventors, the deployment of technology in corporations trade, the international division of labor, and global growth (but also the creation of a low-wage periphery, and the concentration of industrialization of wealth in what is still the global north); the beginnings of the demographic transition that curbed the tendency for technological progress to be nearly entirely eaten up by greater numbers; the shift of work from farm to factory; and the coming of sufficient (if ill-distributed) prosperity. These all raised the possibility that someday, not that far away, humanity, in the rich economies of the global north at least, might attain something that previous eras would have judged to be a genuine utopia.

Continue reading "1919: Inevitability and Chance: A Teaser for "Slouching Towards Utopia?: An Economic History of the Long Twentieth Century"" »

## A Note on Coronavirus

Note to Self: Is there anything wrong with this analysis?: With 14 deaths in the U.S., a 1% death rate, and 4 weeks between infection and death, that means that as of Feb 8 there were 1400 coronavirus cases in the United States. If it is doubling every seven days, then now about 22,000 people have and in the next week about 44,000 people in the U.S. will catch coronavirus. These numbers could be five times too big. These numbers could be five times too small. But with only 1 in 10,000 currently affected, it seems 4 or 5 weeks early to start imposing serious geographical quarintines...

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Tomas Pueyo: Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-act-today-or-people-will-die-f4d3d9cd99ca: 'For the Bay Area, they were testing everybody who had traveled or was in contact with a traveler.... I looked at that ratio for South Korea... 86%.... With that number, you can calculate the number of true cases. If the Bay Area has 86 cases today, it is likely that the true number is ~600.... France claims 1,400 cases today and 30 deaths. Using the two methods above, you can have a range of cases: between 24,000 and 140,000.... Spain has very similar numbers as France.... So the coronavirus is already here. It’s hidden, and it’s growing exponentially.... The World Health Organization (WHO) quotes 3.4% as the fatality rate.... This number is out of context.... It really depends on the country and the moment: between 0.6% in South Korea and 4.4% in Iran. So what is it? We can use a trick to figure it out.... Deaths/Total Cases and Death/Closed Cases. The first one is likely to be an underestimate.... The second is an overestimate, because it’s likely that deaths are closed quicker than recoveries.... Hubei’s fatality rate will probably converge towards 4.8%. Meanwhile, for the rest of China, it will likely converge to ~0.9%.... Iran’s and Italy’s Deaths / Total Cases are both converging towards the 3%-4% range. My guess is their numbers will end up around that figure too.... The last relevant example is the Diamond Princess cruise: with 706 cases, 6 deaths and 100 recoveries, the fatality rate will be between 1% and 6.5%. Note that the age distribution in each country will also have an impact: Since mortality is much higher for older people, countries with an aging population like Japan will be harder hit...

Duncan Black: Well, Then... https://www.eschatonblog.com/: '“The lack of testing in the United States is a debacle,” said Marc Lipsitch, professor of epidemiology at Harvard’s Chan School and director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics. “We’re supposed to be the best biomedical powerhouse in the world and we’ve been unable to do something that every other country has been able to do.”...

Max Roser and Hannah Ritchie: Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus#what-do-we-know-about-the-mortality-risk-of-covid-19: "What we want to know is the total number of COVID-19 cases.... What we do know: the doubling time of known cases. The WHO is publishing daily Situation Reports (here) which list the number of confirmed cases.... Doubling time for the global number of cases (excluding China): 4 days...

## A Note on Coronavirus

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Erik Loomis: If Only We Could Choose Who the 2% Would Be https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2020/03/if-only-we-could-choose-who-the-2-would-be: 'Rick Santelli, a decade off of leading off the corporate-racist freakout against Obama that created the Tea Party, is back wishing 2% of the world would die of coronavirus so that the markets would just keep going up, no doubt to 36,000: @rationalsquad: "Rick Santelli on @CNBC just made the argument that we'd be better off if everyone got the #coronavirus right away and 2% of the world died off, so that financial markets could stabilize. Rick likes Republicans, don't be like Rick...