Optimal Screening for Genetic Diseases

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Nævdal, Eric




Economics and Human Biology

Vol 15, 129-139

Sammendrag (engelsk)

Screening for genetic diseases is performed in many regions and/or ethnic groups where there is a high prevalence of possibly malign genes. The propagation of such genes can be considered a dynamic externality. Given that many of these diseases are untreatable and give rise to truly tragic outcomes, they are a source of societal concern, and the screening process should perhaps be regulated. This paper incorporates a standard model of genetic propagation into an economic model of dynamic management to derive cost benefit rules for optimal screening. The highly non-linear nature of genetic dynamics gives rise to perhaps surprising results that include discontinuous controls and threshold effects. One insight is that any screening program that is in place for any amount of time should screen all individuals in a target population. The incorporation of genetic models may prove to be useful to several emerging fields in economics such as genoeconomics, neuroeconomics and paleoeconomics.


Genetic dynamics; Genetic screening; Optimal control


I12; C61

Prosjekt info:

Oppdragsgiver: Norges forskningsråd
Oppdragsgivers prosjektnr.:
Frisch prosjekt: 4112 - More for less: Why is Norway special?