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Economic considerations for social distancing and behavioral based policies during an epidemic

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  • Fenichel, Eli P.

Abstract

Public policies intended to induce behavioral change, specifically incentives to reduce interpersonal contacts or to “social distance,” increasingly play a prominent role in public disease response strategies as governments plan for and respond to major epidemics. I compare social distancing incentives and outcomes under decentralized, full control social planner, and constrained social planner, without health class specific control, decision making scenarios. Constrained social planner decision making, based on non-health class specific controls, can in some instances make society worse off than decentralized decision making (i.e. no intervention). The oft neglected behavior of recovered and immune individuals is important for welfare and health outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:32:y:2013:i:2:p:440-451
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2013.01.002
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Public health; Infectious disease; Dynamic optimization; SIR model; Adaptive behavior;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health

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