The insight that a good way to talk to non-economists is to point out that there is a major kink in the benefits as you go from R greater than 1 to R less than one seems to me likely to be very important and likely to be exactly right. And I think the figure Eric put up on the screen during his talk is one of the best ways I can think of to convey that insight to non-economists: Eric Budish: R Less than 1 as an Economic Constraint: Can We “Expand the Frontier” in the Fight Against Covid-19? https://faculty.chicagobooth.edu/eric.budish/research/Budish_expand_the_frontier_covid19.pdf: ‘This note suggests that we view R Less than 1 as an economic constraint, allowing social welfare in the traditional sense (economic activity, societal well-being) to be the policy objective. This formulation highlights two key questions at the intersection of health and economics research in response to the Covid-19 crisis. First, what activities maximize social welfare subject to the constraint that disease-transmission is contained, i.e., R Less than 1. Second, what are ways to “expand the frontier” of how much social welfare we can achieve while keeping disease-transmission contained. For example, could widespread use of masks and gloves, society-wide campaigns to “wash your hands,” “stay home if sick,” and “don’t touch your face,” and aggressive testing, together allow us to meaningfully increase the level of economic activity and societal well-being that is possible while keeping R Less than 1?… #coronavirus #noted #publichealth #2020-06-04
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