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Faculty of Economics

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Goyal, S, and Vigier, A.

Interaction, Protection and Epidemics

Journal of Public Economics

Abstract: Individuals respond to the risk of contagious infections by restricting interaction and by investing in protection. We develop a model that examines the trade-off between these two actions and the consequences for infection rates.There exists a unique equilibrium: individuals who invest in protection choose to interact more relative to those who do not invest in protection. Changes in the contagiousness of the disease have non-monotonic effects: as a result interaction initially falls and then rises, while infection rates too may initial increase and then decline.We then consider a society with two communities that differ in their returns from interaction - High and Low. Individuals in isolated communities exhibit different behavior: the High community has a higher rate of protection and interaction, and a lower rate of infection. Integration amplifies these differences.

Keywords: Epidemics, Social interaction, Vaccination

JEL Codes: I12, D85

Author links: Sanjeev Goyal  

Publisher's Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpubeco.2015.02.010



Cambridge Working Paper in Economics Version of Paper: Interaction, Protection and Epidemics, Goyal, S. and Vigier, A., (2014)

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