INFORMATION DESIGN IN CONTROLLING EPIDEMICS

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2023

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This dissertation studies the use of information design to reduce the spread of an infection. In particular, I investigate whether central planners (senders) with more information can leverage the information advantage to improve social welfare. In the first chapter, I analyze a single sender's best information revelation policy when individuals (receivers) have heterogeneous social activity levels and decide their binary protection levels, which further determine a transmission network over which the infection spreads. I establish that it is optimal to obfuscate information only for intermediate transmission rates and for small initial infection probabilities. In the second chapter, I further explore the use of information when there are multiple senders, each caring their own population. I characterize the population's equilibrium actions given any information and the equilibrium information disclosure policies between two senders. I establish that the two senders will disclose no information when they are either heavily economically concerned with high economic costs and a low prior belief about the disease, or health concerned with low economic costs. The senders will disclose partial information when one sender is heavily economically concerned with high economic costs and a high prior belief about the disease, while the other sender is either heavily economically concerned with high economic costs or health concerned with low economic costs. The senders will disclose full information when at least one sender is either concerned but not extremely concerned about the economy or health concerned with high economic costs.

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Chang, Minjun (2023). INFORMATION DESIGN IN CONTROLLING EPIDEMICS. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/27615.

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