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Epidemic Control and Resource Allocation: Approaches and Implications for the Management of COVID-19

Linus Nyiwul

Studies in Microeconomics, 2021, vol. 9, issue 2, 283-305

Abstract: The experience with COVID-19 underscores a classic public policy choice problem: how should policymakers determine how to allocate constrained budgets, limited equipment, under-resourced hospitals and stretched personnel to limit the spread of the virus. This article presents an overview of the general literature on resource allocation in epidemics and assess how it informs our understanding of COVID-19. We highlight the peculiarities of the pandemic that call for a rethinking of existing approaches to resource allocation. In particular, we analyse how the experience of COVID-19 informs our understanding and modelling of the optimal resource allocation problem in epidemics. Our delineation of the literature focuses on resource constraint as the key variable. A qualitative appraisal indicates that the current suit of models for understanding the resource allocation problem requires adaptations to advance our management of COVID-19 or similar future epidemics. Particularly under-studied areas include issues of uncertainty, potential for co-epidemics, the role of global connectivity, and resource constrained problems arising from depressed economic activity. Incorporating various global dimensions of COVID-19 into resource allocation modelling such a centralized versus decentralized resource control and the role of geostrategic interests could yield crucial insights. This will require multi-disciplinary approaches to the resource allocation problem. JEL Classifications: I14, I18, E61, D60, H4, H12

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic; health economics; epidemiology; heuristics; optimization; resource allocation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1177/23210222211053751

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