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What does vaccine effectiveness as a function of time look like?

I think this is right here, though I'd push it forwards a little. 7 days incubation +a few days to detect for some people etc, and you're probably looking at reasonable protection even on t+1 and t+2. I think basically the "dose+ 14 days" is coming down to the fact that it takes us up to 14 days to detect. Otherwise, those two numbers (and pieces of guidance) are suprisingly similar.

The big caveat to all this is that the NEJM figure (based on Pfizer's EUA submission) is focused on OG covid, not covid 2.0.

But the math I did back when I got my shot (based on that figure + an incubation period), was that within 2 days I was at like 70% efficacy.

Risk Budgets vs. Basic Decision Theory

I think a large factor for people making decisions around covid risk is not just the risk they are posing to themselves, but also the risk they are imposing on others. Insofar as "risk I impose on others" enters my utility function, this is going to change a lot of your conclusions pretty quickly. The reason being that "risk imposed on others" is growing super-linearly in most activities.

E.g. If I go to a restaurant and then meet a friend, I've incurred much more risk to the friend than if I didn't go to the restaurant. If I then meet a third friend separately, the risk to that friend is increased by each of the prior interactions, and so forth. Each additional activity poses additional risk to all the people involved in later activities. This is classic exponential growth type stuff, but all we need is super-linear growth in risk.

Once you have something (bad) growing super-linearly like that, it should be pretty straightforward to see that even if the net utility from each of two different actions is positive, the utility from doing both actions may be less than the utility of doing just one. Insofar as the thing that is growing super-linearly is about 'micro-covids', it makes sense that some things are better and worse on that scale (eating inside a restaurant vs going on a walk with a friend), and so accounting for that differential cost makes sense. And now we're firmly in 'budget' territory -- different costs for different activities all of which i like, but with some kind of max on how much I can reasonably spend.

How poor is US vaccine response by comparison to other countries?

This (US export ban) is news to me. Can you link to a source for that?

How poor is US vaccine response by comparison to other countries?

I think korin43 has it right.

Notably, the article you quote cites the US as doing more poorly than the UK, one of the only large countries to outperform the US in both your rankings. I agree that I've seen a number of articles in that vein, but none of them seem to compare the US to countries other than Israel and the UK.

In comparison with the EU however, US vaccine procurement looks incredible. I'll cite a relatively neutral google news search (https://www.google.com/search?q=EU+vaccine+procurement&hl=en&source=lnms&tbm=nws). For future readers: at the moment this shows many news sources saying things like "why has EU procurement been so bad".

Against boots theory

I think that Siderea's section 2 is actually very important. While it is possible that the monetary costs of the boots are structured such that buying good boots once is a better use of money than buying cheap ones every year, it is certainly the case that the time-costs of avoiding that big upfront expenditure are huge. The same is true for many of your examples. Being money-poor forces you to work up to your constraints on other dimensions (time, stress, etc) to survive without money -- which in turn prevents you from using slack in those dimensions to stop being poor.

I will commend your notice of financial products being cheaper for the rich. This is, I think underrated as a source of inequality. It takes $3k to invest in the top tier of vanguard funds. It takes $1mil to become an accredited investor (possibly changing?). This incentivizes more savings behavior by the wealthy, it is literally cheaper/better. Those incentives can create a self reinforcing system. This is probably why we see lots of people giving advice along the lines of "fight every inch for the first $100k of net worth" (see e.g. charlie munger rule).

Comparative advantage and when to blow up your island

I think the reason the second fact gets less attention has to do with the focus rapidly shifting to markets and prices as the mechanism by which the exchange rate is set, rather than 1-on-1 negotiation.

Not to say that the second fact is irrelevant. OPs examples of relevance of fact 1 include things like household chore splits between partners, as well as career choice -- applications where fact 2 is clearly very relevant.

But in econ 101, there is a lot of ground to cover. comparative advantage is a natural jumping off point for supply & demand Qs which are pretty much required content, whereas negotiation, game theory, bilateral decisions are usually treated as somewhat supplementary.

Really well written and thought out.

Indeed, if both Alice and Omega know that Alice's decision-making will tell her to use the 1-boxer strategy, then Alice will know she will gain $1M


In both cases, her counterfactual optimization urged her to be a 2-boxer

feel like the crux to me.

If Alice was such a person to listen to the counterfactual optimization, then both Alice and Omega would not know she would 1box. There is a contradiction being buried in there.

Six economics misconceptions of mine which I've resolved over the last few years

Excellent post. I have a small complaint on the Coase section though. Quoting for reference:

Suppose that, in a particular case, the pollution does $100,000 a year worth of damage and can be eliminated at a cost of only $80,000 a year (from here on, all costs are per year). Further assume that the cost of shifting all of the land down wind to a new use unaffected by the pollution—growing timber instead of renting out summer resorts, say—is only $50,000. If we impose an emission fee of a hundred thousand dollars a year, the steel mill stops polluting and the damage is eliminated—at a cost of $80,000. If we impose no emission fee the mill keeps polluting, the owners of the land stop advertising for tenants and plant trees instead, and the problem is again solved—at a cost of $50,000. In this case the result without Pigouvian taxes is efficient—the problem is eliminated at the lowest possible cost—and the result with Pigouvian taxes in inefficient.

With the numbers laid out, (and presuming the mill is more than $100k profitable), I agree that the "efficient" outcome is for the resort to convert to timber. However, the result with Pigouvian taxes is still efficient. This is because Friedman arrives at the wrong equilibrium result with taxes. It is possible this is because he has structured his taxes incorrectly -- they aren't properly taxing damages, but rather an intermediary which can cause damages.

I think the result that Coase would advocate is that in the presence of a tax on damages, the mill pays the resort owner $50k+1 to convert to timber. At that point, the damages are $0, and no Pigouvian tax is paid. This is central to Coase's realization. Conditional on the pre-existing endowments, we should arrive at the min-cost solution -- the question is who bears the cost. In this case, imposing a Pigouvian tax transfers the burden from the resort owner to the mill owner.

Swiss Political System: More than You ever Wanted to Know (I.)

I believe not. The point was that even if a referenda gains a majority of 1% of the population, it is still a successful referenda. Thus 0.51% when turnout is 1% is adequate to change law.

Conflict vs. mistake in non-zero-sum games

This. I think Mistake theorists would frequently question whether the game is actually zero-sum. This divergence in opinions about the nature of the game feels important to me.

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