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A complex system perspective on the emergence and spread of infectious diseases: integrating economic and ecological aspects

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Ceddia, G., Bardsley, N., Nocella, G., Goodwin, R., Stasi, A. and Holloway, G. (2013) A complex system perspective on the emergence and spread of infectious diseases: integrating economic and ecological aspects. Ecological Economics, 90. pp. 124-131. ISSN 0921-8009

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2013.03.013

Abstract/Summary

The emergence and spread of infectious diseases reflects the interaction of ecological and economic factors within an adaptive complex system. We review studies that address the role of economic factors in the emergence and spread of infectious diseases and identify three broad themes. First, the process of macro-economic growth leads to environmental encroaching, which is related to the emergence of infectious diseases. Second, there are a number of mutually reinforcing processes associated with the emergence/spread of infectious diseases. For example, the emergence and spread of infectious diseases can cause significant economic damages, which in turn may create the conditions for further disease spread. Also, the existence of a mutually reinforcing relationship between global trade and macroeconomic growth amplifies the emergence/spread of infectious diseases. Third, microeconomic approaches to infectious disease point to the adaptivity of human behavior, which simultaneously shapes the course of epidemics and responds to it. Most of the applied research has been focused on the first two aspects, and to a lesser extent on the third aspect. With respect to the latter, there is a lack of empirical research aimed at characterizing the behavioral component following a disease outbreak. Future research should seek to fill this gap and develop hierarchical econometric models capable of integrating both macro and micro-economic processes into disease ecology.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Economic and Social Sciences Division > Centre for Agricultural Strategy (CAS)
ID Code:31937
Publisher:Elsevier

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