Research Areas

CDDEP research focuses on four sets of questions as they apply to malaria, antibiotic resistance, disease control priorities, environmental health, alcohol and tobacco, and various other diseases.

1)  Disease dynamics and behavior: How are disease dynamics influenced by incentives and human behavior? In recent years, CDDEP researchers have expanded the frontiers of economic epidemiology—the interplay of ecology and economics in determining how infectious diseases emerge, establish, and spread—and will further develop this field. Strong multidisciplinary teams that include mathematical disease modelers and economists are the key to this work.

2) Information structure and disease dynamics: What is the role of information in the spread of infectious diseases and how does it affect how we prevent and respond to disease outbreaks? What are countries’ incentives to look for and report disease outbreaks? What kind of international mechanisms could create incentives to improve surveillance and reporting and thereby improve control over the spread of disease and its effects?

3) Delivery of new technologies for disease control: Drugs, vaccines, and diagnostic tests are the products of deliberate research and development streams, invariably involving both public and private sector funding and built-in incentives and disincentives. The value placed on new technologies depends on the perspective of the actor—governments, for-profit companies—but almost never takes the point of view of society as a whole, either national or global. How should new technologies be valued? How should they be compared with the conservation of any existing technologies? What changes in incentives are needed to achieve optimal levels of R&D for different products.

4) Innovative financing: How can tools from public economics be applied to address externalities inherent in infectious diseases? AMFm is one such mechanism, using a global subsidy to address a public goods problem. What avenues exist for global health financing to address other externality problems, such as those confronted by immunization programs and efforts to reduce antibiotic overuse?