Speaker: Diego Cerdeiro
Title: How to Fight the Common Cold: An economic model of endemic diseases
People adopt diverse measures to protect from contagion during interactions. How does the protection technology affect the conditions for an infection to become endemic, and inefficiencies in protection? I propose a taxonomy of protection technologies and embed these in a model where agents strategically choose how much to protect depending on the frequency of their interactions. The first finding is that if the expiration of protection is unrelated to the infectious status, then the conditions for an infection to become endemic are independent of the cost and effectiveness of protection. The second finding relates inefficiencies in protection to population density. This relation is non-monotonic if protection is interaction-specific (e.g. protection against the common cold) or expires upon infection (e.g. protection against computer virus), and decreasing if protection can be used in multiple interactions and expires exogenously (e.g. protection through vaccination).