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Choices, Beliefs, and Infectious Disease Dynamics

  • M. Christopher Auld

This paper develops a dynamic model of behavioural response to the risk of infectious disease. People respond to increased risk of infection by either making marginal adjustments in risky behaviour or by moving to a corner solution where perceived risk is zero. Individuals most prone to high-risk activity will tend to reduce activity less than low-risk people; very high risk people may exhibit "fatalism" and increase risky behaviour as the risk of becoming infected rises. Beliefs about the future course of the epidemic affect current behaviour even when utility is additively separable: pessimistic beliefs induce more risky behaviour. Simulations contrast the disease dynamics generated under these behaviours with those of standard epidemiological models and examine policy issues.

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File URL: http://qed.econ.queensu.ca/working_papers/papers/qed_wp_938.pdf
File Function: First version 1996
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Queen's University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 938.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: Oct 1996
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:qed:wpaper:938
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Web page: http://qed.econ.queensu.ca/
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  1. Avner Ahituv & V. Joseph Hotz & Tomas Philipson, 1996. "The Responsiveness of the Demand for Condoms to the Local Prevalence of AIDS," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(4), pages 869-897.
  2. Peltzman, Sam, 1975. "The Effects of Automobile Safety Regulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(4), pages 677-725, August.
  3. Geoffard, P.Y. & Philipson, T., 1995. "Rational Epidemics and their Public Control," DELTA Working Papers 95-15, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  4. Tomas Philipson, 1999. "Economic Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases," NBER Working Papers 7037, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Tomas Philipson, 1996. "Private Vaccination and Public Health: An Empirical Examination for U.S. Measles," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(3), pages 611-630.
  6. Mechoulan Stéphane, 2004. "HIV Testing: a Trojan Horse?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-26, August.
  7. 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.
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