Edited by Harry W. Richardson, Peter Gordon and James E. Moore II
Chapter 12: The Economic Impacts of International Border Closure: A State-by-State Analysis
Peter Gordon, James E. Moore II, Jiyoung Park and Harry W. Richardson INTRODUCTION Recurrent reminders that an international avian influenza epidemic is a real possibility have prompted a variety of public policy discussions. A recent World Bank study estimated that the global economy would lose $2 trillion from an outbreak, or 3 percent of world gross domestic product (GDP). Another report in the Lancet (by the Harvard Initiative for Global Health Group – see Murray et al., 2006), largely based on an analogy drawn from the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918–20, presented various estimates of possible US fatalities. These included a low threshold of 114,483, a median threshold of 297,883, a mean threshold of 383,881 and a high threshold of 744,226. Applying the US Environmental Protection Agency’s valuation of a statistical life, $5.8 million, these fatalities amount to large imputed dollar amounts: $664 billion, $1.728 trillion, $2.227 trillion and $4.317 trillion, respectively. These estimates, astronomical though they are, ignore the treatment costs of those who get sick but do not die, quarantine costs, and other disaster management costs.1 While the Lancet study argues that a future pandemic might be even worse than in 1918–20, it also accepts that fatalities might be lower because of improved medical management (although the health care system could be overwhelmed), anti-virals, quarantine and vaccination. Yet, it is probably safe to say that terrorists with an admitted interest in acquiring and using weapons of mass destruction have taken note of these...
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