Economics of Infectious Diseases

Ramanan Laxminarayan and Anup Malani

in The Oxford Handbook of Health Economics

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199238828
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Economics

Economics of Infectious Diseases

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  • Economics
  • Health, Education, and Welfare
  • Public Economics



Infectious diseases remain a central preoccupation in many countries. This article sets out the economic issues that arise in this highly complex domain. It reviews four main strands of literature on the economics of infectious diseases. It discusses the economic impact of infectious diseases on labor productivity and investment decisions. It focuses on the interplay between disease prevention and treatment and individual risk-taking behavior. It discusses vaccination as an important tool in the prevention of infectious diseases and presents a classic public goods problem. Disease reporting and eradication efforts are also global public goods. A fourth strand of literature is on the optimal design and allocation of resources for prevention and treatment programs. These programs are based on epidemiological models of disease spread that present significant mathematical challenges.

Keywords: infectious diseases; economic impact; vaccination; treatment; epidemiological

Article.  8153 words. 

Subjects: Economics ; Health, Education, and Welfare ; Public Economics

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