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Policy Response to Pandemic Influenza: The Value of Collective Action


  • Bobashev, Georgiy
  • Cropper, Maureen

    () (Resources for the Future)

  • Epstein, Joshua
  • Goedecke, Michael
  • Hutton, Stephen
  • Over, Mead


This paper examines positive externalities and complementarities between countries in the use of antiviral pharmaceuticals to mitigate pandemic influenza. It demonstrates the presence of treatment externalities in simple SIR (susceptible-infectious-recovered) models and simulations of a Global Epidemiological Model. In these simulations, the pandemic spreads from city to city through the international airline network and from cities to rural areas through ground transport. While most treatment benefits are private, spillovers suggest that it is in the self-interest of high-income countries to pay for some antiviral treatment in low-income countries. The most cost-effective policy is to donate doses to the country where the outbreak originates; however, donating doses to low-income countries in proportion to their populations may also be cost-effective. These results depend on the transmissibility of the flu strain, its start date, the efficacy of antivirals in reducing transmissibility, and the proportion of infectious people who can be identified and treated.

Suggested Citation

  • Bobashev, Georgiy & Cropper, Maureen & Epstein, Joshua & Goedecke, Michael & Hutton, Stephen & Over, Mead, 2011. "Policy Response to Pandemic Influenza: The Value of Collective Action," Discussion Papers dp-11-41, Resources For the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-11-41

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Dissou Yazid, 2006. "Efficiency and Sectoral Distributional Impacts of Output-Based Emissions Allowances in Canada," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-33, September.
    4. Jean-Marc Burniaux & Joaquim Oliveira Martins, 2000. "Carbon Emission Leakages: A General Equilibrium View," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 242, OECD Publishing.
    5. Jensen, Jesper & Rasmussen, Tobias N., 2000. "Allocation of CO2 Emissions Permits: A General Equilibrium Analysis of Policy Instruments," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 111-136, September.
    6. Parry, Ian W. H. & Williams, Roberton III & Goulder, Lawrence H., 1999. "When Can Carbon Abatement Policies Increase Welfare? The Fundamental Role of Distorted Factor Markets," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 52-84, January.
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    More about this item


    pandemic influenza; disease control externalities;

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • C63 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computational Techniques
    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities

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