The Economics of Zoonotic Diseases: An Application to Avian Flu

  • David Zilberman
  • Thomas W. Sproul
  • Steven Sexton
  • David Roland-Holst
Part of the Natural Resource Management and Policy book series (NRMP, volume 36)


This chapter reviews the economics of Avian Influenza and other zoonotic diseases and describes how externalities and market failures lead to suboptimal provision of disease prevention and control. It develops a prototype model of farm behavior that merges epidemiology and economics to provide a framework for analyzing how private incentives lead to a divergence between farmer optimization and social-welfare maximization. Conditions for optimal policy intervention are derived in an application to Avian Influenza and the distribution of economic benefits is derived. Policies for disease prevention and control are considered in the context of the economic model.


West Nile Virus Avian Influenza Marginal Benefit Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Zoonotic Disease 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Bogen, KT. “Methods to Approximate Joint Uncertainty and Variability in Risk.” Risk Analysis 15(1995): 411–419.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Beach, R, C Poulos, and SK Pattanayak. “Farm Economics of Bird Flu.” Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics 55(2007): 471–483.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. CDC. Key facts about avian influenza (bird flu) and avian influenza A (H5N1) virus. Washington (DC); 2008. Accessed online at on August 20, 2008.
  4. Chichilinsky, G. “The Economics of Global Environmental Risks,” In The International Yearbook of Environmental and Resource Economics 1998/9, eds. T. Tietenberg and H. Folmer, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar; 1998.Google Scholar
  5. Connolly, C. “CDC Announces Plan to Ration Flu Vaccine.” Washington Post: 2004 November 10; pA6.Google Scholar
  6. Finnoff, D, J Shogren, B Leung, and D Lodge. “Risk and Nonindigenous Species Management.” Review of Agricultural Economics 27(2005a): 475–482.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Finnoff, D, J Shogren, B Leung, and D Lodge.“The Importance of Bioeconomic Feedback in Invasive Species Management.” Ecological Economics 52(2005b): 367–381.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Horan, RD, C Perrings, F Lupi, and EH Bulte. “The Economics of Invasive Species Management: Biological Pollution Prevention Strategies under Ignorance: The Case of Invasive Species.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics 84(2002): 1303–1310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Jensen, R. “Economic Policy for Invasive Species.” Working Paper, University of Notre Dame; 2002. Accessed at:∼rjensen1/workingpapers/InvasiveSpecies.pdf.
  10. Lichtenberg, E, and D Zilberman. “The Econometrics of Damage Control: Why Specification Matters.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics 68 (1986): 261–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Lichtenberg, E, and D Zilberman. “Efficient Regulation of Environmental Health Risks.” Quarterly Journal of Economics CIII (1988): 167–178.Google Scholar
  12. Mack, RN, D Simberloff, WM Lonsdale, H Evans, M Clout, and FA Bazzaz. “Biotic Invasions: Causes, Epidemiology, Global Consequences and Control.” Ecological Applications 10(2000): 698–710.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. McKibbin, WJ and AA Sidorenko. “Global Macroeconomic Consequences of Pandemic Influenza.” Sydney, Australia: Lowry Institute for International Policy; 2006.Google Scholar
  14. Perrings, C, EB Barbier, M Williamson, D Delfino, S Dalmazzone, J Shogren, P Simmons, and A Watkinson. “Biological Invasion Risks and the Public Good: An Economic Perspective.” Conservation Ecology 6(2002): 1.Google Scholar
  15. Sandler, T. Global Challenges. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK; 1997.Google Scholar
  16. Sproul, TW, D Zilberman, and D Roland-Holst. “The Economics of Managing Animal Disease.” UC Berkeley Department of agricultural and Resource Economics Working Paper 2007.Google Scholar
  17. Stegeman, J. A. and A. Bouma. “Epidemiology and Control of Avian Influenza.” In Proceedings of the 11th International Conference of the Association of Institutions for Tropical Veterinary Medicine and 16th Veterinary Association Malaysia Congress, 141–43. Patalang Jaya, August 2006.Google Scholar
  18. World Health Organization. “Cumulative Number of Confirmed Human Cases of Avian Influenza A/(H5N1) Reported to WHO.” Washington (DC): Accessed online August 20 2008.Google Scholar
  19. Wilson, R. and EA Crouch. “Risk Assessment and Comparisons: An Introduction.” Science 236(1987): 267–270.Google Scholar
  20. Zilberman, D, A Schmitz, G Casterline, E Lichtenberg, and JB Siebert. “The Economics of Pesticide Use and Regulation.” Science 253(1991): 518–522.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Zilberman
    • 1
  • Thomas W. Sproul
    • 2
  • Steven Sexton
    • 1
  • David Roland-Holst
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Agricultural and Resource EconomicsUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA
  2. 2.Department of Environmental and Natural Resource EconomicsUniversity of Rhode IslandKingstonUSA

Personalised recommendations