A lot of the discussion about an inquiry into the covid response has been, in my view, poorly framed. There are massive lessons to be learned from this pandemic, but I believe that a huge segment of this is being ignored – what the cost of lockdowns will be and has already been. For this reason I spoke to wellbeing economist Paul Frijters, co-author of the book The Great Covid Panic, who believes that the cost of lockdowns outweighs the benefits 50:1 on a broad societal scale. This can be a difficult topic to explore without sounding callous, that is never my intention, but if the costs are really this great, I believe we have to understand them before we apply the same policy again.

Paul Frijters is a Professor of Wellbeing Economics at the London School of Economics: from 2016-nov 2019 at the Center for Economic Performance, thereafter at the Department of Social Policy. He completed his Masters in Econometrics at the University of Groningen, including a seven-month stay in Durban, South Africa before completing a PhD through the University of Amsterdam. He has also engaged in teaching and research at the University of Melbourne, the Australian National University, QUT, UQ, and now the LSE.

Professor Fritjers specializes in applied micro-econometrics, including labour, happiness, and health economics, though he has also worked on pure theoretical topics in macro and micro fields. His main area of interest is in analyzing how socio-economic variables affect the human life experience and the “unanswerable” economic mysteries in life.


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