Research on vaccine certificates finds positive outcomes

It’s Wednesday and so some short discussion and news then some jazz, the latter being the highlight. I read an interesting research paper yesterday from the – Conseil d’Analyse Économique (CAE) – which is an French-based organisation that brings together professional researchers “to enlighten the government’s choices in economic matters by comparing points of view and analyses”. It operates under the authority of the French Prime Minister. Its latest public report under its – Focus – series – The effect of COVID certificates on vaccine uptake, health outcomes, and the economy (published January 18, 2022) – presents some very interesting empirical results pertaining to the impact that the enforcement of Covid vaccination certificates has had on the rate of vaccination uptake, on health outcomes (short-term) and on GDP growth rates. I consider the research (methods etc) to be credible and the results are in accord with an array of evidence that other researchers are coming up with.

The effect of COVID certificates on vaccine uptake, health outcomes, and the economy

I know that many people think that research results are manipulated as part of a conspiracy (by whom?) and that we cannot believe the data, and all the rest of that.

The point I make is that when one person comes up with results that are disagreeable to a particular viewpoint you need to be careful with them.

But it is hard to maintain a conspiracy when many diverse researchers come up with results that point in the same direction.

While there are some researchers who are crooks, my experience is that most professional researchers are serious-minded in their work and so constant reinforcement of results gives one confidence.

The study I cited in the Introduction is sound in my judgement – given I understand the advanced statistical techniques being used and the datasets are verifiable.

They realise that the topic is controversial and the use of vaccine certificates has been opposed by some on “ethical and political” grounds.

There is room to debate the practice on those grounds.

But they seek to enlighten us on several research questions relating to the practice of vaccine certificates:

1. Have vaccine certificates increases the rate of vaccination and reduced the rate of hesitancy?

2. Have the certificates impacted on health outcomes – number of hospital admissions and deaths?

3. Have the certificates reduced the loss of GDP as a result of the pandemic?

Using counterfactual and synthetic control techniques, they find:

1. “The effects of COVID certificates on vaccine uptake turned out to be sizeable.”

2. “More precisely, we attribute 13.0 (95% CI 9.7‐14.9) percentage points (p.p.) for France, 6.2 (2.6‐6.9) p.p. for Germany, and 9.7 (5.4‐12.3) p.p. for Italy uptake to the incentives created by COVID certificates.”

3. “The overall effect is significant in France and Italy, but only from end of November 2021 onwards in Germany, when the use of COVID certificates was extended to workplaces.”

4. “The results are in line with studies analysing the immediate period after the intervention in various countries using cross‐country or state comparisons.”

5. “Importantly, the effect of COVID certificates on vaccine uptake was also sizeable among the older population.”

6. In terms of the “the number of hospital admissions and deaths that would have occurred from the announcement of COVID certificates until the end of 2021”, they found that “In France, an additional 32,065 (26,566‐35,306) hospital admissions would have occurred, in Germany 5,229 (‐1,774‐6,822), and in Italy 8,735 (2,999‐12,261). Additional deaths in France would have been 3,979 (3,453–4,298), in Germany 1,133 (‐312‐1358), and in Italy 1,331 (502‐1,794). Thus, from the introduction until the end of 2021, the expected number of hospital admissions (and deaths) would have been 31.3% (31.7%) higher in France, 5.0% (5.6%) higher in Germany, and 15.5% (14.0%) higher in Italy.”

7. “By the end of 2021, without the policy intervention, weekly GDP would have been 0.6 (0.5‐0.8) % lower in France, 0.3 (0.1‐0.4) % lower in Germany, and 0.5 (0.3‐0.6) % lower in Italy, amounting to GDP losses across the second half of 2021 of €6.0 (5.9‐6.1) billion in France, €1.4 (1.3‐1.5) billion in Germany, and €2.1 (2.0‐2.2) billion in Italy.”

In summary, for France, the Covid certificates have saved 3,939 lives, increased vaccine uptake by 13 per cent, and reduced GDP losses of €6 billion.

For Italy, the Covid certificates have saved 1,331 lives, increased vaccine uptake by 9.7 per cent, and reduced GDP losses of €2.1 billion.

for Germany, the Covid certificates have saved 1,133 lives, increased vaccine uptake by 6.2 per cent, and reduced GDP losses of €1.4 billion.

They conclude that the certificates have had:

… a visible, robust positive effect on vaccination rates, health outcomes, and the economy in France, Germany, and Italy.

Further questions remain (such as what about Omicron) and why people are distrustful of the science.

But as it stands, these results are very interesting.

Recent podcast with Real Progressives

A few weeks ago I recorded a new podcast – Duality with Bill Mitchell – with the team at Real Progressives (the title was their choice).

It was quite a long session but I think the discussion was interesting.

You can download the audio – HERE.

If you read faster than you listen and can do without the mellifluous voice tones (-: then there is a full transcript of the discussion available too at the link above.

My thanks to Steve and gang for making it all possible. They deserve our support.

MMTed update

Several things are coming up which may be of interest.

MMTed MOOC – Modern Monetary Theory: Economics for the 21st Century

We are now in a position to offer the course again in early 2022 for all those who have been asking me for a chance to complete the program.

Please note that this is a repeat of the previous course, which we offered in March 2020.

You are invited to enrol for the edX MOOC – Modern Monetary Theory: Economics for the 21st Century – it is free and the 4-week course starts on February 9, 2022.

The course is offered through the University of Newcastle edX program.

Learn about MMT properly with lots of videos, discussion, and more.

For – Further Details.

The Helsinki Lectures 2022

As part of my professorial position at the University of Helsinki, I will be offering my annual lectures on MMT starting next week. This is a partnership between the university and MMTed.

While these lectures form part of a formal postgraduate coursework program at the university, I am permitted to make them publicly available as part of the outreach program.

The teaching program will be:

  • Tuesday January 25, 2022 – Streamed public lecture (YouTube) starting 10:15 Helsinki time.
  • Wednesday, January 26 – first Zoom lecture with class – 08:15-09:45 Helsinki time.
  • Thursday, January 27 – second Zoom lecture – 10:15-11:45 Helsinki time.
  • Tuesday, February 1 – third Zoom lecture – 10:15-11:45 Helsinki time.
  • Wednesday, February 2 – fourth Zoom lecture – 08:15-09:45 Helsinki time.
  • Thursday, February 3 – final Zoom lecture – 10:15-11:45 Helsinki time.

I will publish the access details early next week for the YouTube stream and the Zoom links.

I hope to see some of you in the ‘class’.

Please help if you can

We still need significant sponsors for this venture to ensure that we can run the educational program with negligible fees and to ensure it is sustainable over time.

If you are able to help on an ongoing basis that would be great. But we will also appreciate of once-off and small donations as your circumstances permit.

Please write to me to request account details.

Please help if you can.

Music – Khan Jamal RIP

This is what I have been listening to while working this morning.

Musicians that I came to like when I was young are starting to die off with increasing frequency these days, which probably says something about my age as well.

On January 10, 2022, the great vibe player who also was an excellent percussion player – Khan Jamal – died in Philadelphia at the age of 75.

He was an important part of the free jazz movement in the 1970s, when I first started to collect his records (which were few and far between) along with his band – Sounds of Liberation and the – Sun Ra Arkestra.

The difference between Khan Jamal’s approach and the standard free jazz style was that he was very melodic – so a tonal solo player in a band full of the opposite.

As I learned more about him, I discovered that he had a close association with the Black Arts and Black Consciousness movements and that led him to broaden his instrument range to encompass West African sounds and patterns.

This track – The Known Unknown – is from an 1984 album (recorded in 1982) – Infinity (recorded in 1982).

Playing on this track are Dwight James (drums), Reggie Curry (Bass), Bernard Sammul (Piano) and – Byard Lancaster (Sax).

That is enough for today!

(c) Copyright 2022 William Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.