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Related Subtopics: Risk Analysis, Risk Regulation

The Economics of Pandemics
First Wednesday Seminar
October 7, 2009

The Economics of Pandemics

In the wake of the recent H1N1 pandemic, there is renewed attention regarding the challenges of detecting and containing disease outbreaks and the economic consequences of pandemics. At this First Wednesday seminar, which also marks the launch of RFF’s new Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics, and Policy (, we'll examine some key issues. Can markets be used to predict disease outbreaks? What are the incentives for countries to look for and report disease outbreaks? What are the economic consequences of outbreaks? And what sorts of policy solutions are most effective?

The challenges of improving public health call for coordination of varied perspectives that go beyond the usual models. The Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics, and Policy (CDDEP) at Resources for the Future produces independent, multidisciplinary research to advance the health of human populations in the United States and around the world.

The strength of CDDEP derives from its researchers’ experience in addressing country- and region-specific health problems, as well as truly global challenges, while recognizing the circumstances in which the answers must fit. The solutions require application of economics, epidemiology, disease modeling, risk analysis, and statistics—the collective expertise of the CDDEP staff.  

At RFF's monthly First Wednesday Seminar Series, scholars and experts exchange ideas and views with the RFF community on important energy, environmental, and natural resource topics. 

Video and Audio

Event Audio (MP3)  
click to stream or right-click to download ​


Agenda and Presentation Slides

Opening Remarks

Phil Sharp
President, Resources for the Future

Phil Sharp

Ramanan Laxminarayan
Senior Fellow and Director, Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics, and Policy, RFF
Ramanan Laxminarayan Slides


Anup Malani
Professor of Law, University of Chicago and University Fellow, RFF
Topic: Incentives to Look For and Report Disease Outbreaks

Anup MalaniSlides

Phil Polgreen
Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine, University of Iowa and Director, Emerging Infections Network, Infectious Disease Society of America
Topic: Using Electronic Markets to Predict Disease Outbreaks

Phil PolgreenSlides

Martin Meltzer
Senior Health Economist, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Topic: Assessing the Cost of Disease Pandemics

Martin MeltzerSlides

Maureen Cropper
Professor of Economics, University of Maryland and Senior Fellow, RFF
Topic: Policy Response to Pandemic Influenza: The Value of Collective Action

Maureen CropperSlides

Panel Question and Answer


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