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Syphilis Cycles

Author

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  • Aadland David

    ()

  • Finnoff David C.

    () (Department of Economics and Finance, University of Wyoming, 1000 E. University Ave., Laramie, WY 82071, USA)

  • Huang Kevin X.D.

    () (Department of Economics, Vanderbilt University, 2301 Vanderbilt Place, Nashville, TN 37235, USA)

Abstract

Syphilis has re-emerged as a global public health issue. In lesser developed countries, millions of people are contracting the disease, which can be fatal without access to proper treatment. In developed countries, prevalence is on the rise and has cycled around endemic levels for decades. We investigate syphilis dynamics by extending the classic SIRS epidemiological model to incorporate forward-looking, rational individuals. The integrated economic-epidemiological model shows that human preferences over health and sexual activity are central to the nature of syphilis cycles. We find that low-activity individuals will behave in a manner that significantly dampen the cycles, while high-activity individuals will tend to exacerbate the cycles, a phenomenon we refer to as rational dynamic resonance. The model also provides insights into failed attempts by the U.S. government to eradicate syphilis from the U.S. population.

Suggested Citation

  • Aadland David & Finnoff David C. & Huang Kevin X.D., 2013. "Syphilis Cycles," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 14(1), pages 297-348, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:14:y:2013:i:1:p:297-348:n:2
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Toxvaerd, Flavio, 2010. "Recurrent Infection and Externalities in Prevention," CEPR Discussion Papers 8112, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Sims, Charles & Finnoff, David & O’Regan, Suzanne M., 2016. "Public control of rational and unpredictable epidemics," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 132(PB), pages 161-176.
    3. Horan, Richard D. & Fenichel, Eli P. & Finnoff, David & Wolf, Christopher A., 2015. "Managing dynamic epidemiological risks through trade," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 192-207.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior

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