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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 that is divided into two groups. The groups interact with each other to an extent that is parameterized, capturing the full spectrum from perfectly positive to perfectly negative assortativity. We first consider a central planner who can immunize a fraction of the population to eradicate the harmful state. The optimal policy either divides equally the resources across groups, or concentrates entirely on one group, depending on whether there is positive or negative assortative matching, respectively. Furthermore, the value of the social planner learning the exact level of assortativity is zero when interactions are positively assortative, and is increasing in the intensity of negative assortativity. We then study a game in which agents can, at a cost, achieve immunity. Inter-group interactions generate large asymmetries across groups in many outcomes of interest, such as welfare and prevalence, even when groups are, ex-ante, very similar. Hence, a failing to account for the impact of inter-group interactions may lead to over-estimating underlying differences across groups, and to suboptimal immunization plans.

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Paper provided by University of Essex, Department of Economics in its series Economics Discussion Papers with number 707.

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Date of creation: 01 Mar 2012
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Handle: RePEc:esx:essedp:707
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  1. 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.
  2. Barrett, Scott & Hoel, Michael, 2007. "Optimal disease eradication," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(05), pages 627-652, October.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
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  6. 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.
  7. Sanjeev Goyal & Andrea Galeotti, 2007. "A Theory of Strategic Diffusion," Working Papers 2007.70, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  8. Toxvaerd, Flavio, 2010. "Recurrent Infection and Externalities in Prevention," CEPR Discussion Papers 8112, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Toxvaerd, Flavio, 2010. "Infection, Acquired Immunity and Externalities in Treatment," CEPR Discussion Papers 8111, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Dunia López-Pintado, 2004. "Diffusion In Complex Social Networks," Working Papers. Serie AD 2004-33, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
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  12. Scott Barrett, 2003. "Global Disease Eradication," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(2-3), pages 591-600, 04/05.
  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. 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.
  15. Michael Kremer, 1996. "Integrating Behavioral Choice into Epidemiological Models of the AIDS Epidemic," NBER Working Papers 5428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Geoffard, Pierre-Yves & Philipson, Tomas, 1997. "Disease Eradication: Private versus Public Vaccination," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 222-30, March.
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