Farm economics of bird flu
Outbreaks of infectious animal diseases represent a major threat to agriculture and can impose significant social and economic costs. The potential for devastating epidemics, such as the recent outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in Asia, Europe, and Africa, has prompted major global investments in animal disease prevention and control, both public and private. However, there has been little research into the effects of alternative public policies on farm-level actions to prevent and control HPAI and the implications for disease impacts. Animal disease management involves both ex ante investments to reduce the probability of infection and ex post actions to contain the spread of disease once introduced. The public sector can play an important part in disease mitigation through provision of public disease prevention and control. Another vital role for government in mitigating the potential impacts of HPAI is in the development of well-designed policies to induce socially optimal ex ante private investment while providing incentives for truthful disclosure of disease status. This study employs an economic epidemiology framework to examine the effects of farmer behavior on disease introduction and transmission and to analyze the effects of public policy decisions under alternative scenarios.