How Economics Is Helping End the Pandemic

Fourth-year medical student Anna Roesler administers the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine at Indiana University Health, Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, Ind., December 16, 2020. (Bryan Woolston/Reuters)
Economists have long known about regulatory barriers to speedy vaccine development.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE L ast March Dr. Fauci explained to a Senate committee that “a vaccine . . . will take at least a year or year and a half” until it is administered to the general public. In his next testimony, he added, “I don’t give advice about economic things.” If Dr. Fauci had paid more attention to economics, at least what had reached his own inbox in the prior year via the White House staff secretary, he would have understood how different vaccine development during a pandemic would be, and should be, from that in normal times.

Dr. Fauci was referring to the

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Casey B. Mulligan is a professor of economics at the University of Chicago’s Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics, and served as the chief economist of the White House Council of Economic Advisers in 2018–19. He is also the author of You’re Hired! Untold Successes and Failures of a Populist President, which details conflicts between President Trump and special interests.


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