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Showing posts from 2020

Do Trump rallies spread COVID-19?

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It looks like the answer is yes. It's been a while, but I'm back, and with a new paper with Doug Bernheim, Nina Buchmann, and Seba Otero : We investigate the effects of large group meetings on the spread of COVID-19 by studying the impact of eighteen Trump campaign rallies. To capture the effects of subsequent contagion within the pertinent communities, our analysis encompasses up to ten post-rally weeks for each event. Our method is based on a collection of regression models, one for each event, that capture the relationships between post-event outcomes and pre-event characteristics, including demographics and the trajectory of COVID-19 cases, in similar counties. We explore a total of 24 procedures for identifying sets of matched counties. For the vast majority of these variants, our estimate of the average treatment effect across the eighteen events implies that they increased subsequent confirmed cases of COVID-19 by more than 250 per 100,000 residents. Extrapolating this f

The Groffscars ("Oscars") of 2019

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It's time for my annual picks for Best Picture. This year (unlike in previous years), two of my picks are nominated, but my top one is not: The Farewell was in my view the best film of the year. The story was riveting, touching on hu man relations with a complexity that goes beyond words. It was provocative, sad, even funny at times, but what I think some may miss is that the camerawork was gorgeous too. (The beautifully-composed closing shot, above, is far from the most remarkable. Staircases, even medical machines receive a visually poetic treatment throughout.) My next-two favorites are, luckily, apparently top Best Picture contenders. First is 1917 . Some people thought the (illusory) one-shot visuals were a gimmick, but for my money they fit the story very well and captured the unrelenting intensity of trench warfare.  The actors and script did a solid job sustaining attention over that length of time. That's basically tied in my mind with Parasite , which had an