LA: Distance learning only

The New York Times reports: California’s two largest public school districts said on Monday that instruction would be online-only in the fall, in the latest sign that school administrators are increasingly unwilling to risk crowding students back into classrooms until the coronavirus is fully under control.The school districts in Los Angeles and San Diego, which…

Those greedy insurance companies?

Health insurance companies are not spending as much money as expected. While COVID-19-related costs are up, the cost savings from people foregoing or delaying elective care has more than offset the COVID costs. Health insurers are refunding much of that savings to their enrollees. However, this is due to a provision of the ACA that…

All stocks are vaccine stocks

In a world with COVID-19, what factors are most influential to a company’s stock price? Are company specific or macroeconomic factors most important? It turns out, the speed of health care innovation in fighting COVID-19 may be the biggest single factor influencing all stock market prices. Barrons: General Electric stock was racing higher Tuesday, but…

Are COVID-19 tests free?

The answer should be ‘yes’. From an economist’s perspective, prices for goods and services should generally be set at marginal cost unless there are externalities. In the case of COVID-19, there are clear externalities. By finding out that someone is COVID-19 positive, one could not only treat the patient (not an externality) but also the…

More evidence that social distancing works

Kapoor et al. (2020) uses rainfall on last weekend before the stay-at-home order as an instrument for social distancing. variables. They find that social distancing works and has persistent effects, especially early on: We test whether earlier social distancing affects the progression of a local COVID-19 outbreak. We exploit county-level rainfall on the last weekend…