Welcome to Plugging the Gap (my email newsletter about Covid-19 and its economics). In case you don’t know me, I’m an economist and professor at the University of Toronto. I have written lots of books including, most recently, on Covid-19. You can follow me on Twitter (@joshgans) or subscribe to this email newsletter here.
It has been … checks calendar … a whole three months since I published a Covid-19 book. That was The Pandemic Information Gap: The Brutal Economics of COVID-19 (MIT Press, November 2020) which was itself a revised and expanded edition of Economics in the Age of COVID-19 (MIT Press, April 2020). I have often claimed that those books were more the result of an insane mind than anything else. That’s what’s great about academia: your insanity looks like work to other people. Moreover, you don’t just recover for insanity; hence … I have written another book and it will be out this Monday, February 8th.
Between the time I put the most recent book to rest in July and now, I have, of course, been writing this newsletter but also working intensively on “plugging the gap” and finding solutions to that lack of information that continues to plague us (pun intended). The new book is definitively a sequel to that book although it can safely be read as a stand-alone work. It is called The Pandemic Information Solution: Overcoming the Brutal Economics of Covid-19 and it covers the main theme of this newsletter: that the pandemic is best thought of as an information problem that needs information solutions.
As I did not think it could wait 4 months to go through the usual publishing process, it is self-published (just like this newsletter you are reading). But it has been carefully edited (unlike this newsletter you are reading) and will be available in eBook and physical versions (which this newsletter can be too if you print it out).
Some of the parts of chapters of the book will be familiar to those who have been reading this newsletter from its inception. But the book is really a more detailed explanation of the role of tests, screening, tracing and other information that can help us navigate and potentially resolve the pandemic (and future ones too). More critically, it is the underpinning of the rationale behind the CDL Rapid Screening Consortium and serves a good 40,000 answer to the question of why we are doing that. There is still misinformation and misunderstanding regarding the role of testing to getting us to better health and economic outcomes and the goal of the book is to put those to bed.
The good news about self-publishing is that I can set prices and they are low. You can pre-order the book now in time for Valentine’s Day if you are a member of the highly niche market who likes to present your romantic partner with practical solutions to global catastrophes.
That said, if you are a purest and just want to read the text, then, since you are a loyal reader of this newsletter, I am offering here the PDF gratis. Please feel free to share it widely.
And what’s better, you can start reading that today!