The Economics of Malaria Vector Control

I focus on 4 major challenges for malaria control with which economics can assist: In the first chapter I use optimal control and dynamic programming techniques to focus on the problem of insecticide resistance in malaria control, and to understand how different models of mosquito evolution can affect our policy prescriptions for dealing with the problem of insecticide resistance. In the 2nd chapter, I consider the interaction between parasite resistance to drugs and mosquito resistance to insecticides, and use a mass-action epidemiological model to analyze cost-effective malaria control portfolios that balance these 2 dynamics. In the 3rd chapter, I analyze results from a discrete choice experiment (DCE) of households in northern Uganda to elicit preferences for different attributes of indoor residual spraying programs (IRS) to control malaria-transmitting mosquitoes. In particular, I evaluate: (a) the elasticity of household participation levels in IRS programs with respect to malaria risk; and (b) households’ perceived value of programs aimed at reducing malaria risk, such as IRS.

From the summary of this year’s Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA) Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award, which went to my former student and coauthor Zack Brown. Zack and I had also won the AAEA’s Outstanding American Journal of Agricultural Economics Article Award in 2011 for our paper titled “On the (Mis)Use of Wealth as a Proxy for Risk Aversion.”

It always warms my heart to think that even though Duke is not a land grant university and does not have an agricultural and applied economics department, it can claim three winners of the AAEA’s Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award as its own. Zack is the most recent one: my colleague (and coauthor) Marty Smith won it in 2002, and I won it in 2007.

(And yes, before someone takes this last tongue-in-cheek comment a bit too seriously, I do realize Marty and I won the award for work done at Davis and Cornell, respectively…)

(Note to Zack: Dude, the numbers rule! Spell out numbers up to ten, write numbers for numbers greater than 11!)

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