Discussion and 2 replies | Economics homework help


Optimal Decisionmaking with Risk in a Pandemic


So in our first class we talked about the economic approach to decisionmaking (cost-benefit analysis) under certainty.  That is, in my example, the costs and the benefits of the decision were well known.  But what if the costs are uncertain? as they are in the current pandemic.   That suggests an appropriate topic for DB 1!

Take a look at the two pieces below.  The first is an economist’s early look at the decision to open schools or not in the middle of a pandemic.  The second, a biography of the author of the first piece, who has become somewhat of a celebrity of late.  (You might want to check out her “hit” blog which gives insights into child-rearing questions using the “empiricism” toolbox of economics, which we discussed in our Week 1 class as well.) 



After reading the two pieces, go back and review the author’s suggested five-step decisionmaking process in an environment of uncertainty. 

Your task for DB 1?  Select a decision/problem (imaginary or real) you might face during the pandemic and use the author’s five-step procedure to suggest a decision.  In your primary post, make sure you provide a clear discussion of the specifics of your decisionmaking process as they relate to each of the five steps.  In other words, your primary post will include a minimum of five paragraphs, where each paragraph corresponds to one step. 

For your minimum two follow-up posts, you’ll want to comment on your colleagues’ application of the model to their selected decisions.  Focus on your colleagues’ framing of the question, as well as their evaluation of the risk and benefits.    

What do I look for when I review your posts?

(i) Did you answer the questions posed in the prompt before the posted Sunday deadline.  Failure to post before the deadline results in a deduction of from two to four 4 points from your overall DB score.

(ii)  Did you provide at least two follow-up posts in response to the primary post of others before the beginning of our next class?  Failure to do so results in a deduction of two points per omitted post.

(iii) What evidence (from out- or inside the article, your own lives, and so on) did you mention when defending your answer?

(iii) Are your original arguments well thought out and explained?

(iv) Do your follow-up posts contribute meaningfully to the debate?

(v) How original are your posts? That is, to the extent possible, are you contributing new thoughts to the discussion? Or are you only mimicking what others have said? (Of course, some overlap is inevitable – and desirable. But do you try to add something new?)

Best wishes for an engaging dialog.  Stilll think Economics is too theoretical?  

Post by  Matthew Alindog 



Is it worth it to spend my limited time in the gym or on the field? With COVID, you are only allowed to spend a limited amount of time on the field or inside the gym. 

Throughout my life, I always thought that Saturdays and Sundays are usually “rest” days. I see the weekends as that I can do whatever I want to do in my free time, unless I have work to do. Usually on the weekends, I either go to the gym or play soccer at the field outside of the gym. Also, at the end of my workouts I usually do a cardio workout. I always have a dilemma in selecting what I want to do because of COVID. Every since COVID, your time at the gym is limited and now they are implementing the rule of having limited time at the field as well. I can only make one choice, either to use my time in the gym or use my time on the field, I cannot do both. 


Using limited time in the gym – If I choose to spend my time in the gym, there a some potential risks I can see happening with soccer. If I choose the gym, obviously I wouldn’t be able to play soccer. I’m not sure if this would be a risk factor, but I would also be risking happiness in a way. Soccer usually helps me clear my mind and it makes me feel like nothing in the world is happening except soccer. Another potential risk is another form of leg and cardio workout. 

Using limited time on the field – If I choose to use my time on the field, there are risk factors that I would have with the gym. I would not have any access to weights or any machines to help improve my body. Another risk factor is also one I stated before, happiness. I say it can risk hapiness because the gym allows me to work on my phyisque and allows me to get to the goals I want for my body. 


With going to the gym, the only risk is playing soccer. I won’t be able to play soccer at all unless I choose to play soccer. Other potential risks with going to the gym is missing out on another form of a cardio and leg workout, and a support to ease my mind. In addition, if COVID was not a thing, a risk would be playing with friends or others. 

With going to the field, I would lose accessibilty to weights, machines, and a proper workout. Although I would be happy outside, I won’t be able to work on my physical image the way I want to due to the fact there are no weights and machines outside. There are some machines actually, but I don’t use them for my safety, due to COVID. 


If I go to the gym, I am able to gain happiness, have accessibility to weights, and have a proper workout. I will be able to use machines and weights to bring me the most satisfaction possible. I will also be able to gain happiness because I enjoy lifting weights and I would be able to get a proper workout in. 

If I go to the soccer field, the benefits I would recieve is happiness (a clear mind), enjoying soccer, and another form of a cardio and leg workout. 


In the end, I have to make a decision. I would choose to spend my limited time in the gym. Although I enjoy playing soccer, I just have more benefits in the gym. I’m able to gain happiness and leg/cardio workouts in the gym as well. I would have the same amount of benefits as if I was going to field, plus the benefits from the gym. In overall, I would choose to go to the gym because I see myself getting more out of it, choosing between the 2 options. 

Post by  Darius Porter  


I work in a predominantly customer service oriented field and I deal with customers on a daily basis. A problem that I have faced during this pandemic is trying to keep myself safe while in an office with my co-workers and also dealing with customers.  

Frame the question

How do I safely protect myself from being exposed to the virus while having many co-workers and also dealing with customers? My first option is to follow CDC guidelines, and Spanish health guidelines. My second option is to telework.

Mitigate risk

For the first option, the safest way to mitigate the risk is to wear a mask, and socially distance myself from the customer and my co-workers. The risk would be completely mitigated because I would be working from home while socially distancing.

Evaluate risk

There is more of a risk with me possibly catching the virus if I were to continue to physically work at the office. Even though I may follow the corrective procedures, one of my fellow co-workers or customers could possibly catch the virus and then expose me to it. There is no risk for the second option because I would be working from home while socially distancing.

Evaluate benefits

There is no real benefit of me physically going to work so I am able to perform my duties from home. It just puts my health and safety into harm’s way, which is unnecessary. The benefit of teleworking is that I am able to completely do my job while not exposing myself to possibly catching the virus.


The smart and most logical answer here would be to telework. This allows me to protect myself from catching the virus, while still allowing me to perform my daily tasks. If I were to stay at work, then I would be putting myself in harm’s way for no apparent reason.

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