DIMACS Workshop on Economic Epidemiology

October 24 - 25, 2005
DIMACS Center, Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ

Dave Smith, NIH, smitdave@helix.nih.gov
Ramanan Laxminarayan, Resources for the Future, ramanan@rff.org
Presented under the auspices of the Special Focus on Computational and Mathematical Epidemiology and the Special Focus on Computation and the Socio-Economic Sciences.


Scott Barrett, Professor of Environmental Economics & International Political Economy and Director, International Policy Program Johns Hopkins University

David L. Smith, Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health

Title: Infections and games: the role of institutions (part I and II)

Human institutions affect the way diseases are perceived and the way they spread. These interactions range from the public health bodies responsible for setting policy as well as the hospitals and local programs that implement them. One important point is that infectious diseases do not respect institutional boundaries, so the problems of one place become the problems of everyone. In particular, disease control creates positive externalities.

Sally Blower, Professor of Biomathematics, University of California, Los Angeles

Title: Infections and incentives: the role of patient behavior

Infectious diseases and economics interact in complicated ways when individuals change their behavior in response to some real or perceived risk, and when those changes in behavior affect the way that infectious diseases spread in populations. These are often described economically as prevalence-response elasticity, disinhibition, and assortive matching. Divergence between individual and societal incentives to prevent spread by isolating patients or vaccinating against and treating infections will be discussed, as will be optimal control responses when patient behavior is incorporated into mathematical models of disease.

Chris Gilligan, Professor of Mathematical Biology, University of Cambridge

Title: Optimization using disease models; possibilities and pitfalls

Most problems at the interface between economics and epidemiology require some sort of optimization. This approach is powerful, but carries its own set of challenges.

Simon Levin, Moffett Professor of Biology and Director, Center for Biocomplexity, Princeton University

Title: Disease control, resistance, and public goods

The emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance highlights many of the conflicts between individuals and societies. A useful perspective is that antimicrobial drugs are a natural resource. Biological parameters such as the fitness cost of resistance along with the discount rate determine whether drug effectiveness is renewable or depletable. Thinking of drug effectiveness in this manner is useful in developing strategies for optimal use of antibiotics and in learning from experience in dealing with other similar resources.

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Document last modified on October 13, 2005.