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Archive for May, 2020

Freakonomics take on “How Do You Reopen a Country?”

Sunday, May 3rd, 2020

Listen to this entire Podcast at:

Here are some excerpts:

Steve Dubner recently called up Steve Levitt, his Freakonomics friend and co-author. He’s an economist at the University of Chicago — which, like all schools, has moved to remote teaching.

DUBNER: So, Levitt, how’s your sheltering in place going, generally?

LEVITT: Not too bad. I’m lucky I didn’t lose my job and I’m healthy. I don’t really like people that much in the first place so I don’t mind being isolated. So I know other people are really suffering, but I’ve been super lucky.

DUBNER: So let me ask you this: How useful would you say that economists have been so far during this pandemic?

LEVITT: I think economists didn’t really have a very big role in the beginning and the middle, in the sense that it was really more like a medical issue or a policy issue. But I think on the exit from quarantine, economists can be really important because the tradeoffs we’re talking about here are the kind of tradeoffs that regular people don’t think about very much, like the tradeoff between life and death versus economic activity. I think there’s also just a lot of room for economists here to be sensible guides as we think about what will work and what won’t work.


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