Optimal Social Distancing and the Economics of Uncertain Vaccine Arrival

Terrence Iverson, Larry Karp, and Alessandro Peri

from ARE Update Vol. 24, No. 3, Jan/Feb, 2021

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Abstract

The current, increased optimism about the imminent arrival and distribution of a COVID vaccine in the U.S. leads to an increased optimal level of social distancing. Under current circumstances, a policy that seeks to protect the most vulnerable, while allowing the bulk of the population to carry on without restrictions would be disastrous; that policy might have been loosely justified early in the pandemic. An early vaccine arrival time, in general, has an ambiguous effect on optimal social distancing. However, we find that currently in the U.S., the early arrival time promotes stricter social distancing.

Keywords

COVID-19 policy
herd immunity

Citation

Terrence Iverson, Larry Karp, and Alessandro Peri. 2021. "Optimal Social Distancing and the Economics of Uncertain Vaccine Arrival." ARE Update 24(3): 9-11. University of California Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics.
https://giannini.ucop.edu/filer/file/1613691580/19988/