Several states around the country have eased or are preparing to ease their stay-at-home restrictions that were imposed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. This is happening despite reports and model predictions that the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. is still climbing and will continue to rise for several more weeks — if not months.Not surprisingly, whether individual states should reopen their economy now or keep hunkering down has generated heated debates.The issue of how different states should respond to the pandemic is a prime example of what social scientists call a “social dilemma,” which is a situation in which individuals’ interests and the wellbeing of the collective group are in conflict. When this occurs — and when individuals act selfishly without coordination — the result is a suboptimal outcome that ends up hurting everyone. Right now, with governors — who are under pressure to revive their states’ economy — around the country acting independently with regard to reopening their states, we are hurtling towards that dark fate of likely prolonging and even deepening the current crisis.ADVERTISEMENTTo prevent this from happening, we need to first understand why coordination matters at the national — and indeed the international — level. In a world with highly mobile populations, how… Read full this story
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