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Economics of Prevention: The Public Health Research Agenda

Chattopadhyay, Sajal K. PhD; Carande-Kulis, Vilma G. PhD

Journal of Public Health Management and Practice: September-October 2004 - Volume 10 - Issue 5 - p 467–471
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Public health policy makers often focus their attention on the economic evaluation methods (eg, cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analyses) because of their interest in the economic returns from investment in prevention programs. This article presents a case for the broader applicability of economic theories and methods in development of public health prevention research issues. Public financing, delivery, and regulatory policies are often advocated and used to correct the imperfections in the market for preventive health services. A proper understanding of the incentives and constraints faced by individual agents in the market, however, can improve the effectiveness of these policies in achieving the prevention targets. In developing a research agenda, economics can play a more substantial role beyond the traditional economic evaluation research.

This article presents a case for the broader applicability of economic theories and methods, other than cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analyses, in the development of public health research issues regarding prevention.

Branch Chief and Economist, Prevention Effectiveness and Health Economics Branch, Division of Prevention Research and Analytic Methods, Epidemiology Program Office, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia (Chattopadhyay).

Acting Associate Director for Science and Economist, Division of Prevention Research and Analytic Methods, Epidemiology Program Office, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia (Carande-Kulis).

Corresponding author: Sajal K. Chattopadhyay, PhD, Prevention Effectiveness and Health Economics Branch, Division of Prevention Research and Analytic Methods, Epidemiology Program Office, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MS E-90, 1600 Clifton Road, Atlanta, GA 30333 (e-mail: skc9@cdc.gov).

© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.