Teaching and Research with SARS-CoV-2Please allow me some remarks regarding teaching and research during a pandemic.
- During the last months, our health system was under an enormous strain. The situation keeps changing, but the pandemic is far from over. Academics must take into consideration the consequences their actions have for other people. We should act responsibly. We should not try to find loopholes, pretending one could return to old habits that now have become a danger to the public.
- I am grateful to those colleagues (many of them young academics) who, during the past months, have successfully developed safe and digital and inspiring academic events. These colleagues have made and are still making a very important contribution to our academic life. They help us to keep in touch. They help us to carry on with our work in a responsible way. Thank you!
- During the last months I have learnt to appreciate digital
academic events. I have difficulties understanding colleagues who refuse to engage in safe and
responsible digital alternatives. I find it dangerous when these
colleages point to others who “do the same”. It does not help if
individual members of a society excuse their own behaviour, if they claim
that the negative externality generated by them is smaller
than the negative externality generated by others.
The behaviour of others never justifies own choices. A society which follows the inefficient example of their neighbours enters a spiral of increasingly inefficient choices. We must make responsible and independent and safe choices. We must help reducing the risk we are imposing on others. All parts of our society make substantial contributions in the fight against the pandemic. The contribution required by academics is very small in comparison. This can be done!
Digital hospitality among researchers is essential. I am most grateful to the MPI for collective goods for their hospitality and for their inspiring digital activities during the pandemic. I also enjoy several seminar series in my field:
- Virtual MD Seminar Series
- VIBES (Virtual Behavioral Economics Seminar)
- MiddExLab Virtual Seminar Series
- Norms and Behavioral Change Talks
- Since I am interested in economic behaviour, I also try to understand, why and how decision makers select information they know is biased, e.g. downplaying the actual risks of SARS-CoV-2.
The framework of Kamenica, Gentzkow (AER, 2011) could be useful.
Gitmez, Sonin, Wright (2020) apply this framework to behaviour in the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.
Digital contact tracing apps can help to fight the pandemic. But how can users be motivated to install such an app. Cheng, Fang, Goette (2021) use a large-scale experiment on social media to understand how users can be encouraged (Cheng, Fang, Goette. 2021. Not on my smartphone! Does information about local COVID-19 incidence increase the use of digital contact tracing apps? Mimeo).
- Non-pharmaceutical measures against the pandemic often restrict social contacts.
Social contacts come with individual costs and benefits. They also come with externalities, i.e. with cost and benefits for others.
Philipson and Posner (1993) present a framework in the context of the AIDS epidemic.
Toxvaerd (2021) extends this framework to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and compares the effects of two types of externalities: infection externalities and socioeconomic externalities.
Brotherhood, Jerbashian (2020) study the role of firms. They ask how much firms can gain by fighting infections to protect their workforce.
Quaas , Meya, Schenk, Bos, Drupp, Requate focus on the dynamics of optimal restrictions. Should one restrict contacts in a strict way for a short time, or should one rather restrict contacts in a milder way over a long time horizon?
Lu and Wang (2021) study in which way a pandemic has the potential to change society and to support democratization. Mechanisms considered are civil participation, political dissent, and what the authors call a risk of government by the people consciousness. (Ming Lu and Danli Wang. 2021. Epidemics and Democratization: Historical Evidence from the Establishment of County Councils in China (1900-1949). Mimeo.)
- Cristina Bicchieri, Enrique Fatas, Abraham Aldama, Andres Casas, Ishwari Deshpande, Mariagiulia Lauro, Cristina Parilli, Max Spohn, Paula Pereira, Ruiling Wen. “In Science we (should) trust: expectations and compliance during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
- Solomon Hsiang, Daniel Allen, Sébastien Annan-Phan, Kendon Bell, Ian Bolliger, Trinetta Chong, Hannah Druckenmiller, Luna Yue Huang, Andrew Hultgren, Emma Krasovich, Peiley Lau, Jaecheol Lee, Esther Rolf, Jeanette Tseng, Tiffany Wu. “The effect of large-scale anti-contagion policies on the COVID-19 pandemic”. Nature. 2020.
- Gonzalo Castex, Evgenia Dechter, Miguel Lorca. “COVID-19: The impact of social distancing policies, cross-country analysis.” Economics of Disasters and Climate Change. 2020.
- Hunt Allcott, Levi Boxell, Jacob Conway, Billy Ferguson, Matthew Gentzkow, Benny Goldman. “What Explains Temporal and Geographic Variation in the Early US Coronavirus Pandemic?”. 2020.
- Panu Poutvaara, Madhinee Valeyatheepillay. “Covid-19 Pandemic: Challenges and a Way Forward”. EconPol Policy Report. 2020.
- Pierre Pestieau, Grégory Ponthiere. “Optimal Lockdown and Social Welfare.”. CESifo Working Paper 8694. 2020.
- Aditya Goenka Lin Liu and Manh-Hung Nguyen. “Modeling optimal quarantines under infectious disease related mortality”. TSE Working Paper, n. 20-1136, August 2020.
- Martín Gonzalez-Eiras, Dirk Niepelt. “Optimally Controlling an Epidemic”. CESifo Working Paper 8770. 2020.
- Tiziana Assenza, Fabrice Collard, Martial Dupaigne, Patrick Fève, Christian Hellwig, Sumudu Kankanamge, and Nicolas Werquin. “The Hammer and the Dance: Equilibrium and Optimal Policy during a Pandemic Crisis”. TSE Working Paper, n. 20-1099, May 2020.
- Laurent Miclo, Jörgen W. Weibull, and Daniel Spiro, “Optimal epidemic suppression under an ICU constraint”, TSE Working Paper, n. 20-1111, June 2020.
- Kenju Kamei, Louis Putterman, Jean-Robert Tyran. “Civic Engagement as a Second-Order Public Good: The Cooperative Underpinnings of the Accountable State.” SSRN 3448470. (The paper has obviously been written before the pandemic. Still, I think that civic engagement help us understanding social and economic dynamics during the pandemic.