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The Optimal Control of Infectious Diseases via Prevention and Treatment

  • Rowthorn, Robert
  • Toxvaerd, Flavio

This paper fully characterizes the optimal control of a recurrent infectious disease through the use of (non-vaccine) prevention and treatment. The dynamic system may admit multiple steady states and the optimal policy may be path dependent. We find that an optimal path cannot end at a point with maximal prevention; it is necessarily zero or at an intermediate level. In contrast, an optimal path must end at a point at which treatment is either maximal or minimal. We find that the comparative statics of the model may radically differ across steady states, which has important policy implications. Last, we consider the model with decentralized decision making and compare the equilibrium outcomes with the socially optimal outcomes. We find that steady state prevalence levels in decentralized equilibrium must be equal to or higher than the socially optimal levels. While steady state treatment levels under decentralization are typically socially optimal, steady state prevention (if used) is socially suboptimal.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8925.

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Date of creation: Apr 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8925
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  1. Goldman Steven Marc & Lightwood James, 2002. "Cost Optimization in the SIS Model of Infectious Disease with Treatment," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-24, April.
  2. Aadland, David & Finnoff, David, 2007. "Syphilis Cycles," MPRA Paper 8722, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Gersovitz, Mark & Hammer, Jeffrey S., 2001. "The economic control of infectious diseases," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2607, The World Bank.
  4. Carol Y. Lin, 2008. "Modeling Infectious Diseases in Humans and Animals by KEELING, M. J. and ROHANI, P," Biometrics, The International Biometric Society, vol. 64(3), pages 993-993, 09.
  5. Geoffard, Pierre-Yves & Philipson, Tomas, 1996. "Rational Epidemics and Their Public Control," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 37(3), pages 603-24, August.
  6. W.A. Brock & D. Starrett, 2003. "Managing Systems with Non-convex Positive Feedback," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 26(4), pages 575-602, December.
  7. Toxvaerd, Flavio, 2010. "Recurrent Infection and Externalities in Prevention," CEPR Discussion Papers 8112, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Doris A. Behrens & Jonathan P. Caulkins & Gernot Tragler & Gustav Feichtinger, 2000. "Optimal Control of Drug Epidemics: Prevent and Treat---But Not at the Same Time?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 46(3), pages 333-347, March.
  9. 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.
  10. Michael Kremer, 1996. "Integrating Behavioral Choice into Epidemiological Models of the AIDS Epidemic," NBER Working Papers 5428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Klein, Eili & Laxminarayan, Ramanan & Smith, David L. & Gilligan, Christopher A., 2007. "Economic incentives and mathematical models of disease," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(05), pages 707-732, October.
  12. Wagener, F. O. O., 2003. "Skiba points and heteroclinic bifurcations, with applications to the shallow lake system," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(9), pages 1533-1561, July.
  13. 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.
  14. Mark Gersovitz & Jeffrey S. Hammer, 2003. "Infectious Diseases, Public Policy, and the Marriage of Economics and Epidemiology," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 18(2), pages 129-157.
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