Interacting Regional Policies in Containing a Disease

38 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2020 Last revised: 2 Feb 2021

See all articles by Arun G. Chandrasekhar

Arun G. Chandrasekhar

Stanford University - Department of Economics

Paul S. Goldsmith-Pinkham

Yale School of Management

Matthew O. Jackson

Stanford University - Department of Economics; Santa Fe Institute

Samuel Thau

Harvard University

Date Written: August 24, 2020

Abstract

Regional quarantine policies, in which a portion of a population surrounding infections are locked down, are an important tool to contain disease. However, jurisdictional governments -- such as cities, counties, states, and countries -- act with minimal coordination across borders. We show that a regional quarantine policy's effectiveness depends upon whether (i) the network of interactions satisfies a balanced-growth condition, (ii) infections have a short delay in detection, and (iii) the government has control over and knowledge of the necessary parts of the network (no leakage of behaviors). As these conditions generally fail to be satisfied, especially when interactions cross borders, we show that substantial improvements are possible if governments are outward-looking and proactive: triggering quarantines in reaction to neighbors' infection rates, in some cases even before infections are detected internally. We also show that even a few lax governments -- those that wait for nontrivial internal infection rates before quarantining -- impose substantial costs on the whole system. Our results illustrate the importance of understanding contagion across policy borders and offer a starting point in designing proactive policies for decentralized jurisdictions.

Suggested Citation

Chandrasekhar, Arun G. and Goldsmith-Pinkham, Paul S. and Jackson, Matthew O. and Thau, Samuel, Interacting Regional Policies in Containing a Disease (August 24, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3680231 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3680231

Arun G. Chandrasekhar

Stanford University - Department of Economics ( email )

Landau Economics Building
579 Serra Mall
Stanford, CA 94305-6072
United States

Paul S. Goldsmith-Pinkham

Yale School of Management ( email )

NY
United States

HOME PAGE: http://paulgp.github.io

Matthew O. Jackson (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Department of Economics ( email )

Landau Economics Building
579 Serra Mall
Stanford, CA 94305-6072
United States
1-650-723-3544 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.stanford.edu/~jacksonm

Santa Fe Institute

1399 Hyde Park Road
Santa Fe, NM 87501
United States

Samuel Thau

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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