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Volume 27, Issue 4

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May 6, 2013

To Fight Pandemics, Reward Research

THAT frightening word “pandemic” is back in the news. A strain of avian influenza has infected people in China, with a death toll of more than 25 as of late last week. The outbreak raises renewed questions about how to prepare for possible risks, should the strain become more easily communicable or should other deadly variations arise.

Our current health care policies are not optimal for dealing with pandemics. The central problem is that these policies neglect what economists call “public goods”: items and services that benefit many people and can’t easily be withheld from those who don’t pay for them directly.

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http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/05/business/an-economic-cure-for-pandemics.html?