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Optimal Screening for Genetic Diseases


  • Nævdal, Eric

    () (Department of Economics)


Screening for genetic diseases is performed in many regions and/or ethnic groups where there is a high prevalence of possibly malign genes. The propagation of such genes can be considered dynamic externality. Given that many of these diseases are untreatable and give rise to truly tragic outcomes they are a source for societal concern and the screening process should perhaps be regulated. The present paper incorporates a standard model of genetic propagation into an economic model of dynamic management. The paper derives cost benefit rules for optimal screening. The highly non-linear nature of genetic dynamics gives rise to perhaps surprising results which include discontinuous controls and threshold effects. One insight is that a screening program, if at all in place at all at some point in time, should screen all individuals.

Suggested Citation

  • Nævdal, Eric, 2009. "Optimal Screening for Genetic Diseases," HERO On line Working Paper Series 2008:2, Oslo University, Health Economics Research Programme.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:oslohe:2008_002

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Wirl, Franz, 1991. "Economics of (oil) price politics: Penalizing price changes," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 515-527.
    2. Emons Winand, 2009. "Genetic Tests and Inter-Temporal Screening in Competitive Insurance Markets," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-19, July.
    3. Hoel, Michael & Iversen, Tor & Nilssen, Tore & Vislie, Jon, 2006. "Genetic testing in competitive insurance markets with repulsion from chance: A welfare analysis," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 847-860, September.
    4. Francis, Peter J., 1997. "Dynamic epidemiology and the market for vaccinations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 383-406, February.
    5. Fernando Antoñanzas & R. Rodríguez-Ibeas & M. Hutter & R. Lorente & C. Juárez & M. Pinillos, 2012. "Genetic testing in the European Union: does economic evaluation matter?," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 13(5), pages 651-661, October.
    6. Lundborg, Petter & Stenberg, Anders, 2010. "Nature, nurture and socioeconomic policy--What can we learn from molecular genetics?," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 320-330, December.
    7. Doherty, Neil A. & Thistle, Paul D., 1996. "Adverse selection with endogenous information in insurance markets," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 83-102, December.
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    More about this item


    Screening programme; Genetic diseases; Dynamic management;

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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