assorted links

Sunday assorted links

1. “As of Wednesday, women and men in Panama are under different quarantine schedules.

2. Banerjee and Duflo give their take.

3. On the decline of “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”  (I myself prefer “Cloudy,” among many other S&G songs.)

4. Does financial stress spur entrepreneurship?

5. “We find that firms that had more connections on the eve of the 1929 financial market crash have higher 10-year survival rates during the Great Depression. Consistent with a financing channel, we find that the results are particularly strong for small firms, private firms, cash-poor firms, and firms located in counties with high bank suspension rates during the crisis. Moreover, connections to cash-rich firms are stronger predictors of survival, overall and among financially constrained firms.”  Link here.

6. Is classical music becoming culturally more central under the lockdown?

7. 1957 flu memories, that was then this is now.

8. Roger Congleton model of the pandemic, the link downloads it rather than opening it up.

9. Maybe shaky as evidence, but this paper argues that thinking about coronavirus makes people more right-wing.

10. New site/model on estimating the number of infections.

11. How to do express loans for small businesses.

12. The impact on Native Americans.

Saturday assorted links

Friday assorted links

1. Scott Alexander reviews Toby Ord’s The Precipice, about existential risk.

2. Pooled testing in Germany.

3. A critique of the Paycheck Protection Program — it might help already stable restaurants the most.  See also this tweet storm.

4. Should we pivot to a service trade agenda?

5. Full paper assessing health care capacity in India.

6. Claims about Covid and the future economics of cultural institutions.

7. I could link to Matt Levine every day, but do read this one on liquidity transformation.

8. How is the cloud holding up?  A good post.

9. Immunity segregation comes to Great Britain.

10. Robin Hanson on the variance in R0 and how hard it is to halt the spread of the virus.

11. New program for on-line “Night Owls” philosophy by Agnes Callard.

12. The true story of the toilet paper shortage: it’s not about hoarding, rather a shift of demand away from the commercial sector into the household sector (you are doing more “business” at home these days).


14. Fan, Jamison, and Larry Summers 2016 paper on the economics of a pandemic.  I wrote at the end of the blog post: “In other words, in expected value terms an influenza pandemic is a big problem indeed.  But since, unlike global warming, it does not fit conveniently into the usual social status battles which define our politics, it receives far less attention.”

15. Buying masks from China just got tougher.

16. How to produce greater capacity flexibility for hospitals.

17. Paycheck Protection Program is steeped in chaos.

Thursday assorted links

Wednesday assorted links

1. “…if the US stayed completely shut down for two months, the typical US worker would work about the same number of hours this year as a pre-pandemic German worker.”

2. Timeline of the federal government response to coronavirus.

3. Anti-price gouging laws mean masks leave America, I wonder if Alex is preparing a whole post on this link?

4. Holman Jenkins of the WSJ goes Straussian on the Straussian bloggers.

5. The culture that is Bengali priorities: sweet shops will stay open.  And a short history of coronavirus in Japan.  And Ezra Klein interviews Evan Osnos on coronavirus and U.S.-China relations.

6. Self-isolation proves a boon to rainfall project.

7. Why there are lags in scaling up California testing.  A very good (and depressing) piece.

8. Mossad officer describes their battle for ventilators.  And is the U.S. taking ventilators from Paraguay? (speculative)

9. The singing stops in southern Italy as tensions rise.

10. “Our infectiousness model suggests that the total contribution to R0 from pre-symptomatics is 0.9 (0.2 – 1.1), almost enough to sustain an epidemic on its own. For SARS, the corresponding estimate was almost zero (9), immediately telling us that different containment strategies will be needed for COVID-19.”  Link here.

11. Hospitals that won’t let their doctors wear masks (NYT).

12. Economist Peter Sinclair has died from Covid-19.

13. Should very young countries such as Nigeria opt for suppression?

14. Japan cries “Uncle!”

15. Our system of scientific funding is broken for rapid science (recommended).

Tuesday assorted links

Monday assorted links

1. Looming condom shortage?

2. Kotlikoff argues for group testing.

3. “The Trump administration is leaving untapped reinforcements and supplies from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, even as many hospitals are struggling with a crush of coronavirus patients.

4. Why America took so long to test, and yes the FDA is largely to blame (NYT).

5. “Those shown to have developed immunity could be given a “kind of vaccination passport that allows them, for example, to be exempted from curbs on their activities”, Gérard Krause, a leading immunologist co-ordinating the study, told Der Spiegel magazine.”  (The Times)

6. Why Singaporean health care workers have remained relatively safe.

7. This Week in Virology podcast.  I have not heard it, but it comes recommended.

8. The Gottlieb/Rivers/McClellan/Silvis/Watson AEI policy paper.

9. Audrey Moore RIP, Fairfax County environmentalist, she influenced my life a great deal, both good and bad.  Fairfax County now has 427 parks, in part because of her.

10. Robin Hanson argues for variolation.

11. The gender gap in housing returns.  (Do women care more about the non-pecuniary factors?)

12. The Ebola scare helped Republicans.

13. New SEIR infectious disease model from NBER.  And a new James Stock paper with a model.

14. Summary of where John Cochrane is at.

15. MIT The Elevate Prizes, up to $5 million.

16. Viral load as a source of heterogeneity?

17. James Altucher interviews me about the coronavirus economy, podcast.

Sunday assorted links

1. Margaret Atwood on public health in the 1940s.

2. 250 things an architect should know, recommended, Michael Sorkin RIP.

3. Sign up for curated videos from The Browser.

4. The enforcement culture that is Britain: “”We are getting calls from people who say ‘I think my neighbour is going out on a second run – I want you to come and arrest them’.”

5. Why are airlines pricing tickets so very low even below marginal cost?

6. Health and Pandemics, Econ Working Group, now with virtual seminars.

7. Tape of the Neil Ferguson parliamentary testimony.  And here are Ben Yeoh notes on the presentation.

8. Do we have the personnel infrastructure to support test and trace?

9. “Here we propose that national differences in COVID-19 impact could be partially explained by the different national policies respect to Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) childhood vaccination.

10. Christopher Balding’s full take.  Chris makes many good points, but two comments.  First, on the policy side he is far too quick to dismiss “test and trace,” which seems to be working in South Korea and Singapore.  Second, I would like to see more comparative attention to the regions where we know things are going very, very badly.

11. Why previous attempts to build a new ventilator fleet failed (NYT).

12. RIP Krzysztof Penderecki.

Saturday assorted links

Friday assorted links

Thursday assorted links

1. Less Wrong coronavirus database (now upgraded).

2. My 2017 video on The Great Reset.  And David Wright podcast on how Covid hits the poor.

3. MIE: In Beijing restaurants “many delivery orders now often include cards listing the names and temperatures of all the staff involved in preparing your food.”

4. The limits of infrastructure stimulus.  And the case against airline bailouts.  And database of state quarantine regulations.

5. Paul Romer’s simulations for tests and targeted isolation.  And more from Romer.  And a third Paul Romer simulation: even an eighty percent false negative rate helps fight a pandemic.  I’ll be writing more on this soon.

6. Health and pandemics econ working group.  And Senegalese music video.

7. “This paper examines the puzzling phenomenon that many Chinese liberal intellectuals fervently idolize Donald Trump and embrace the alt-right ideologies he epitomizes.

8. Cheap mechanical ventilators?

9. Someone wise once told me that you get into the most trouble/controversy making statements that (pretty much) everyone agrees with.  Here is my Bloomberg column on university endowments, which endorses the policies of virtually all elite universities, and by extension their presidents and boards.  Or for that matter virtually all businesses that have had to opt for lay-offs.

10. The problems of post-acute care.

11. During the shutdown, the creativity pours forth (Joseph’s Machines).

12. UK fiction sales surge, most of all long classics.

13. Covid-19 seems to be most dangerous across Italian-speaking Swiss cantons, then French-speaking cantons, then German-speaking, big differences.

Wednesday assorted links

1. “Variation in skill can explain 44 percent of the variation in diagnostic decisions, and policies that improve skill perform better than uniform decision guidelines.”  Not a Covid-19 paper, but relevant of course, link here.

2. Which states are practicing social distancing the most? (NYT)

3. Human challenge studies to accelerate a vaccine.

4. My Bloomberg column on how the macroeconomics of Covid-19 do and do not resemble WWII.  Oops, correct link here.

5. The idea of “group testing” actually came from economist Robert Dorfman of Harvard (who taught me history of economic thought way back when).  And more on pooled tests.  And Nebraska is doing pooling.

6. “Use Surplus Federal Real Property to Expand Medical and Quarantine Capacity for COVID-19.

7. Why scaling up testing is so hard (New Yorker).

8. We still don’t know the CFR for H1N1.

9. “Overlooked is the possibility that beauty can influence college admissions.”  But not for Chinese it seems.

10. Mullainathan and Thaler with some deregulatory suggestions (NYT).

11. “The Food and Drug Administration will allow doctors across the country to begin using plasma donated by coronavirus survivors to treat patients who are critically ill with the virus, under new emergency protocols approved Tuesday.

12. Benjamin Yeoh on early vaccine use.

13. James Stock: “The most important conclusion from this exercise is that policy hinges critically on a key unknown
parameter, the fraction of infected who are asymptomatic. Evidence on this parameter is scanty, however
it could readily be estimated by randomized testing.”

14. Two elite factions in tension with each other (nasty stuff, please do not read).

Tuesday assorted links and non-links

1. Some mask production is being deregulated.

2. “Using country-, subnational-, and individual-level data, we show that Facebook has had a significant and sizable positive impact on citizen protests.”

3. Open source ventilators?

4. Automated contact tracing without giving up privacy?  And explanation.

5. What the SuperForecasters think.

6. A useful thread on mutation.

7. Scott Alexander on masks.

8. “People exhibit overconfidence in their ability to calculate exponential growth.

9. The Spanish flu rebellion against masks.  And how the Spanish flu shaped trust.  And 1919 Science piece on the lessons of the Spanish flu.

10. From my email: “One major issue for SMBs is that many owners are on the hook *personally* for lines of credit and other business loans and also for business credit cards. For example, my business has a line of credit that I had to personally guarantee and it is with the same major bank that holds my mortgage. Bankruptcy would probably mean I discharge the line of credit AND lose my house at the same time. I suspect other SMB owners are in similar situations.”

11. Aurlus Mabele, coronavirus victim (NYT) obit), RIP (music video here).  And Manu Dibango too.

12. “Based on the proposed methodological procedure, we estimated that the actual cumulative number of exposed cases in the total population in Lombardy on March 8 was of the order of 15 times the confirmed cumulative number of infected cases. According to this scenario, the DAY-ZERO for the outbreak in Lombardy was the 21st of January 2020. The effective per-day disease transmission rate for the period until March 8 was found to be 0.779 (90% CI: 0.777-0.781), while the “effective” per-day mortality rate was found to be 0.0173 (90% CI: 0.0154-0.0192). Based on these values, the basic reproduction rate R0 was found to be 4.04 (90% CI: 4.03-4.05). Importantly, by reducing the transmission rate by 90% on March 8 to reflect the suspension of almost all activities in Italy, we run the simulator to forecast the fade out of the epidemic. Simulations show that if the measures continue, the complete fade out of the outbreak in Lombardy is expected to occur by the end of May 2020.”  Paper here.

13. Why Germany is not doing as well as you think.  It is about the exponential function, yet again.

14. An overview on possible drugs and their status.

Monday assorted links