Dr. Doug Allen is a professor of economics at Simon Fraser University.
Link to Anchor (which has links to Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, etc).
Allen. Covid Lockdown Cost/Benefits: A Critical Assessment of the Literature. April 2021. http://www.sfu.ca/~allen/LockdownReport.pdf
Atkeson, Kopecky and Zha. “Four Stylized Facts about COVID-19.” August 2020. doi = 10.3386/w27719
2:15 His original thoughts on the pandemic when it first hit, and then how his thoughts changed.
6:10 What were the four false assumptions economic and epidemiological models have?
14:38 Why did governments latch onto the Imperial College London epidemiological model when it was so immediately and obviously flawed?
17:10 Based on what Allen observes, their models are epidemiological curves. This explains why health modelling goes up and up and up.
19:05 What is “endogenous” behaviour, how do epidemiological models fail to include it, and why are economic models simply superior?
21:35 Atkeson’s model looked like it correctly followed the actual death rate as soon as he adds in the endogenous assumption. How do we know that lockdowns don’t actually work? Different lockdown policies but the same curves?
27:35 What should the media be reporting?
29:31 How does Atkeson distinguish between government and human action causing COVID-19 policy?
31:25 Variation in policy lets us identify whether lockdowns actually work or not. Why did Sweden have so many deaths, and is it really a “precautionary tale”?
33:38 What Dr. Allen was doing in his OLS Regression/Table 2 of his pdf. He correlated stringency and death numbers.
38:00 What are the costs of lockdowns? They are hard to identify, how to measure them (or to measure “lost value”).
41:48 How do you measure the cost of lost civil liberties? One big cost: social trust.
43:40 Bryan Caplan’s thought experiment that measures life years which gets around the issue of measuring all of the primary, secondary, and tertiary costs of lockdown.
51:24 What if it were young people were the most vulnerable to COVID? How would that change Caplan’s thought experiment?
52:22 The feedback that he’s been receiving – 99.9% positive. Politicians, health professionals, teachers, psychologists have been all reaching out.
55:11 How does Dr. Allen deal with the frustration about the incompetence up above? Quick shoutout to Ron DeSantis
56:24 Is this incompetence a result of stupidity or malevolence? Politicians’ institutional constraints.
Please check out my website at eugenefernandes.com/letters-from-a-contrarian/ to read the full show notes for this episode, along with the transcript.
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