Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

HERO Online Working Paper Series,
University of Oslo, Health Economics Research Programme

No 2003:23: Optimal Disease Eradication

Scott Barrett and Michael Hoel ()
Additional contact information
Scott Barrett: Johns Hopkins University, Postal: School of Advanced International Studies
Michael Hoel: Department of Economics, Postal: University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1095 Blindern, N-0317 Oslo, Norway

Abstract: Using a dynamic model of the control of an infectious disease, we derive the conditions under which eradication will be optimal. When eradication is feasible, the optimal program requires either a low vaccination rate or eradication. A high vaccination rate is never optimal. Under special conditions, the results are especially stark: the optimal policy is either not to vaccinate at all or to eradicate. Our analysis yields a cost-benefit rule for eradication, which we apply to the current initiative to eradicate polio.

Keywords: Eradication of infectious diseases; vaccination; control theory; cost-benefit analysis; poliomyelitis

JEL-codes: D61; H41; I18

39 pages, June 22, 2009

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