Saturday, November 21, 2020

From 2014... States with Democratic US Representatives on the House oversight committee received roughly 60,000 additional doses per legislator during the initial allocation period; the advantage dissipated after 3 weeks

From 2014... Allocating Infection: The Political Economy of the Swine Flu (H1N1) Vaccine. Matt E Ryan. Economic Enquiry, Vol. 52, No. 1, January 2014, 138–154.

Abstract: Previous research has isolated the effect of “congressional dominance” in explaining bureaucracy-related outcomes. This analysis extends the concept of congressional dominance to the allocation of H1N1, or swine flu, vaccine doses. States with Democratic United States Representatives on the relevant House oversight committee received roughly 60,000 additional doses per legislator during the initial allocation period, though this political advantage dissipated after the first 3 weeks of vaccine distribution. As a result political factors played a role in determining vaccine allocation only when the vaccine was in particularly short supply. At-risk groups identified by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), such as younger age groups and first responders, do not receive more vaccine doses, and in fact receive slightly fewer units of vaccine. (JEL D72, D73, I18)


My take to organize my ideas after reading this:

People is greatly surprised hearing things like this. I am neither surprised, nor disappointed. I know since I was 14 (although I de-learned that knowledge a bit later) that we are not virtuous, nor rational, regardless of party or religion or civic education, and that there are no models, no even Ghandi (whom I adored when I reached the extremist pacifist period), or scientists (Newton, etc.).

Obviously, some corruption is also there, at those oversight committees... It seems very human that a part of the chain of thoughts that take part in the decision was to find ways to compensate first your own constituents, just for your own interest. I can see that.

But the good progressive representatives (I believe the majority of those Democrats), what were they thinking most of the time when doing this unequal distribution of vaccines while in short supply (right after FDA approvals were secured)?

My guess is that they have:

1 more of a superiority complex than the Republicans have (in some measure as a consequence of 2);

2  less skepticism of human nature, and as a consequence, inter alia, more imperfect brakes to stop such impulses;

3 maybe a small dose of avenging/justice-to-be-served attitude against those districts that voted for the Republicans (my voters are, in greater proportion, the workers, the oppressed, the non-white, etc.); &

4 corruption, as I already said before, although at a much smaller degree than other motivations.

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