Charles Manski, 12 June 2020

Formation of COVID-19 policy must cope with many substantial uncertainties about the nature of the disease, the dynamics of the pandemic, and behavioural responses. This column argues that instead of making policy that is optimal in hypothetical scenarios but potentially far from optimal in reality, it is more prudent to approach COVID-19 policy as a problem in decision making under uncertainty. Under ‘adaptive diversification’, a range of policies would be implemented across locations and policymakers would be able to revise the proportion of locations assigned to each policy as evidence accumulates.

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