Sullivan and Henderson Talk on School Shutdowns
By David Henderson
Last Thursday, my Naval Postgraduate School colleague Ryan Sullivan and I made a case against school shutdowns in a Zoom talk to a local Monterey group called The Old Capitol Club. It’s an actual physical location in downtown Monterey and I’ve given 2 talks there in person in the last 20 years, something I refer to right at the end of this talk. This, of course, was remote.
From about 23:00 to 25:15, I handle the issue of human capital vs. signaling to explain why I think the $2.5 trillion loss of human capital is overstated. I draw on Bryan Caplan’s The Case Against Education, which I point out should be titled The Case Against Schooling.
At 32:38, a viewer named Hampton raises a question. I gave him a seat-of -the-pants answer. I later went to the data and came up with a much different answer.
Going to CDC data that updated after our talk, I found that the number of American residents below age 15 who had died of COVID-19 is 83, up from 81.
The number who had died who were between age 15 and 24 was 418. So I interpolated to get the number of between age 15 and 18, and got 0.4 of 418 = 167. This is substantially higher than the seat-of-the-pants answer I gave Hampton.
It’s also an overestimate because we know that the mortality rate rises with age. So people in the age 15 to 18 category are substantially lower risk than people in the age 19 to 24 category.