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Strategic Immunization and Group Structure


  • Andrea Galeotti
  • Brian W. Rogers


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 intergroup contact generates large asymmetries. (JEL D71, D85)

Suggested Citation

  • Andrea Galeotti & Brian W. Rogers, 2013. "Strategic Immunization and Group Structure," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 1-32, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmic:v:5:y:2013:i:2:p:1-32 Note: DOI: 10.1257/mic.5.2.1

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sanjeev Goyal & Andrea Galeotti, 2007. "A Theory of Strategic Diffusion," Working Papers 2007.70, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    2. Michael Kremer, 1996. "Integrating Behavioral Choice into Epidemiological Models of AIDS," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 549-573.
    3. 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.
    4. Scott Barrett, 2003. "Global Disease Eradication," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(2-3), pages 591-600, 04/05.
    5. Michael Kremer, 1996. "Integrating Behavioral Choice into Epidemiological Models of the AIDS Epidemic," NBER Working Papers 5428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Barrett, Scott & Hoel, Michael, 2007. "Optimal disease eradication," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(05), pages 627-652, October.
    7. Vega-Redondo,Fernando, 2007. "Complex Social Networks," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521857406, March.
    8. 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.
    9. Toxvaerd, Flavio, 2010. "Infection, Acquired Immunity and Externalities in Treatment," CEPR Discussion Papers 8111, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. López-Pintado, Dunia, 2008. "Diffusion in complex social networks," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 573-590, March.
    11. 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.
    12. Vega-Redondo,Fernando, 2007. "Complex Social Networks," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521674096, March.
    13. 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.
    14. 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.
    15. Toxvaerd, Flavio, 2010. "Recurrent Infection and Externalities in Prevention," CEPR Discussion Papers 8112, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    16. Geoffard, Pierre-Yves & Philipson, Tomas, 1997. "Disease Eradication: Private versus Public Vaccination," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 222-230, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cerdeiro, Diego A., 2017. "Contagion exposure and protection technology," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 230-254.
    2. repec:eee:gamebe:v:105:y:2017:i:c:p:155-176 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Acemoglu, Daron & Malekian, Azarakhsh & Ozdaglar, Asu, 2016. "Network security and contagion," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 166(C), pages 536-585.
    4. Goyal, Sanjeev & Vigier, Adrien, 2015. "Interaction, protection and epidemics," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 64-69.
    5. Panebianco, Fabrizio & Verdier, Thierry, 2015. "Paternalism, Cultural Transmission and Diffusion on Complex Networks," CEPR Discussion Papers 10722, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Zenou, Yves, 2014. "Key Players," CEPR Discussion Papers 10277, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • D85 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Network Formation


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