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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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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Fenichel, Eli P. & Abbott, Joshua K., 2014. "Heterogeneity and the fragility of the first best: Putting the “micro” in bioeconomic models of recreational resources," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 351-369.
    2. Saak, Alexander E. & Hennessy, David A., 2016. "A model of reporting and controlling outbreaks by public health agencies:," IFPRI discussion papers 1529, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. Fenichel, Eli P. & Horan, Richard D., 2016. "Tinbergen and tipping points: Could some thresholds be policy-induced?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 132(PB), pages 137-152.
    4. Eli Fenichel & Timothy Richards & David Shanafelt, 2014. "The Control of Invasive Species on Private Property with Neighbor-to-Neighbor Spillovers," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 59(2), pages 231-255, October.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Public health; Infectious disease; Dynamic optimization; SIR model; Adaptive behavior;

    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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