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Strategic immunization and group structure

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  • Galeotti, Andrea
  • Rogers, Brian W.

Abstract

We consider the spread of a harmful state through a population divided into two groups. Interaction patterns capture the full spectrum of assortativity possibilities. We show that a central planner who aims for eradication optimally either divides equally the resources across groups, or concentrates entirely on one group, depending on whether there is positive or negative assortativity, respectively. We study a game in which agents can, at a cost, immunize. Negative assortative interactions generate highly asymmetric equilibrium outcomes between ex-ante identical groups. When groups have an underlying difference, even a small amount of inter-group contacts generates large asymmetries.We study the diffusion of a harmful state through a population. Immunity is available, but is costly. The state is meant to capture various kinds of choices or risky behaviors such as, for example, tobacco use, in which case immunity is interpreted as a commitment to avoid the temptation of smoking. The state can also capture the presence of an electronic virus on a computer network; in this case immunity represents the purchase of anti-virus software, or other costly measures taken to avoid the virus. But perhaps the most conventional interpretation is that the state represents human infection of various communicable diseases that spread through social contacts; in this case immunity captures a decision to vaccinate oneself.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for Social and Economic Research in its series ISER Working Paper Series with number 2012-16.

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Date of creation: 08 Aug 2012
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Publication status: published
Handle: RePEc:ese:iserwp:2012-16

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  1. Andrea Galeotti & Sanjeev Goyal, 2009. "Influencing the influencers: a theory of strategic diffusion," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 40(3), pages 509-532.
  2. Andrea Galeotti & Sanjeev Goyal, 2007. "A Theory of Strategic Diffusion," Economics Discussion Papers 635, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  3. Vega-Redondo,Fernando, 2007. "Complex Social Networks," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521674096, October.
  4. Vega-Redondo,Fernando, 2007. "Complex Social Networks," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521857406, October.
  5. 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.
  6. Jackson Matthew O. & Rogers Brian W., 2007. "Relating Network Structure to Diffusion Properties through Stochastic Dominance," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-16, February.
  7. Scott Barrett, 2003. "Global Disease Eradication," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(2-3), pages 591-600, 04/05.
  8. Michael Hoel & Scott Barrett, 2004. "Optimal Disease Eradication," Working Papers 2004.50, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  9. Geoffard, Pierre-Yves & Philipson, Tomas, 1997. "Disease Eradication: Private versus Public Vaccination," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 222-30, March.
  10. Toxvaerd, Flavio, 2010. "Recurrent Infection and Externalities in Prevention," CEPR Discussion Papers 8112, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. López-Pintado, Dunia, 2008. "Diffusion in complex social networks," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 573-590, March.
  12. Federico Echenique & Roland G. Fryer Jr & Alex Kaufman, 2006. "Is School Segregation Good or Bad?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 265-269, May.
  13. Toxvaerd, Flavio, 2010. "Infection, Acquired Immunity and Externalities in Treatment," CEPR Discussion Papers 8111, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Brito, Dagobert L. & Sheshinski, Eytan & Intriligator, Michael D., 1991. "Externalities and compulsary vaccinations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 69-90, June.
  15. Michael Kremer, 1996. "Integrating Behavioral Choice into Epidemiological Models of the AIDS Epidemic," NBER Working Papers 5428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Boulier Bryan L. & Datta Tejwant S. & Goldfarb Robert S, 2007. "Vaccination Externalities," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-27, May.
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