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Escaping epidemics through migration? Quarantine measures under incomplete information about infection risk

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  • Mesnard, Alice
  • Seabright, Paul

Abstract

This paper explores the implications for public policy of the fact that individuals have incomplete but private information about their exposure to infectious disease when they make migration decisions. In a 2-period model we study conditions under which the presence of quarantine measures may lead to inefficient outcomes by strengthening individuals' interest in migration to escape centres of disease and thereby imposing negative externalities on other uninfected individuals. We show first that when the disease has an epicentre, the marginal migrant imposes a net negative externality. Secondly, quarantine policies may sometimes encourage migration instead of discouraging it. Thirdly, even when they succeed in discouraging migration, quarantine policies may lower social welfare, and even increase overall disease incidence, if they go too far, thereby discouraging those intra-marginal migrants for whom private benefits exceed private costs by more than the negative externality they impose on others.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 93 (2009)
Issue (Month): 7-8 (August)
Pages: 931-938

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:93:y:2009:i:7-8:p:931-938

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

Related research

Keywords: Migration Infectious diseases Public health Quarantine;

References

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  1. Kremer, Michael, 1996. "Integrating Behavioral Choice into Epidemiological Models of AIDS," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(2), pages 549-73, May.
  2. Geoffard, P.Y. & Philipson, T., 1995. "Rational Epidemics and their Public Control," DELTA Working Papers 95-15, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  3. Mesnard, Alice & Seabright, Paul, 2008. "Migration and The Equilibrium Prevalence of Infectious Diseases," CEPR Discussion Papers 6651, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Michael Kremer, 1996. "Integrating Behavioral Choice into Epidemiological Models of the AIDS Epidemic," NBER Working Papers 5428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Fenichel, Eli P., 2013. "Economic considerations for social distancing and behavioral based policies during an epidemic," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 440-451.

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