Pandemic Prevention

Economics of Emerging Infectious Diseases

Program Info

Outbreaks of emerging diseases and pandemics inflict damages and costs to society that include the direct costs of treating illness, the effects of a reduction in labor supply caused by an unhealthy and/or dying work force, as well as losses in sectors unrelated to health such as travel and trade.

The rate at which emerging disease events occur is increasing, and in order to minimize the damages, it is important to examine the benefits, costs, and effectiveness of underlying policy approaches in addition to determining the magnitude of the damage and on whom the economic burdens fall.

This program comprises a wide range of projects that take into account the uncertainty surrounding the timing, location, and virulence of an outbreak.

  • Economics of disease and emerging disease events. What are the total damages associated with past events?
  • Optimal pandemic policies responses. Should we invest more in preventing the outbreak or alleviating the damages of an outbreak and when should we invest and implement these policies?
  • Financing options for global disease surveillance and response. Multi-lateral organizations have investigated the costs necessary to bolster infectious disease surveillance and response capacities in all countries around the world. Global donations required to fund these upgrades are not sufficient. What other options does the global community have?
  • Valuing ecosystem services. With specific consideration of the role of intact ecosystems in mitigating infectious diseases, what is the optimal use of land and resources considering benefits and costs of converting land and the benefits of preserving intact landscapes?
  • Extractive Industries. What are the damages that industries and surrounding communities can sustain if precautions are not taken to lessen the risk of infectious disease outbreaks?
  • Impact of disease on commodity prices. How do different media announcements regarding disease outbreaks impact the behaviors of hedgers and speculators?

Ultimately, the Economics of Emerging Infectious Diseases program seeks to determine how to optimally allocate resources to address the pandemic threat, whether devising strategies to mitigate the underlying causes or providing the necessary knowledge for individuals, businesses, and society as a whole, to minimize economic damages in the event of an imminent pandemic.  EcoHealth Alliance’s experience determining the distribution of the damages as well as the underlying causes will be invaluable to policies makers.



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