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The Economics of Epidemiology

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: August 2014 - Volume 46 - Issue 8 - p 1676
doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000452356.47982.8b
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This book provides a unique view of the intersection of economics, epidemiology, and social interactions. By combining these three fields and incorporating mathematical models, the author enables scientists and officials to begin to understand the economic effect of diseases in a population.

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In the most basic sense, the purpose of this book is to enable scientists in fields related to public health understand economics and vice versa. These are very worthy objectives because diseases can sharply affect the economic situation in a given population and it is important for professionals in both fields to be able to speak about the effects with each other. The author does a wonderful job of accomplishing these objectives.

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Although the book is intended for students and professionals in the medical, public health, and social science fields, it has more of a student emphasis and seems geared more for epidemiology, public health, and economic professionals and less for social scientists. It does not spend much time discussing the social scientist’s point of view, and although it does discuss social interactions, it lacks an in-depth social perspective. The author has taught economics courses and has experience with epidemiological research.

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The book begins by discussing epidemics and the way in which they are modeled and classified, covering SIS and SIR modeling. The next section brings together economics and epidemiology, showing how much of a role economics plays in containing an epidemic or disease spread. The author then discusses the ways in which people interact and the connections they make. The final section combines everything to discuss how public health officials make decisions. The basics of each subject are described well, and the book does a good job moving from one field of study to the next. The visualization of the models is well done.

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This book is a valuable tool for scientists in both economics and public health to help them understand how tightly these two fields interact. The author has done an exemplary job presenting the information for readers in both fields.


Reviewed by:Angela Schneider, MS (College of Public Health, University of Iowa)

© 2014 American College of Sports Medicine