Discussion of Biosecurity, Diseases, and Invasive Species: Implications of Bioterrorism for Agriculture

By Evans, Edward A. | Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, August 2006 | Go to article overview

Discussion of Biosecurity, Diseases, and Invasive Species: Implications of Bioterrorism for Agriculture


Evans, Edward A., Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics


Both papers in this session illustrate a growing trend among agricultural economists to let go of their comfort zones and move beyond the bounds of the traditional market analysis and a world of certainty into the less familiar and more challenging world of uncertainty. This trend augurs well for the profession and demonstrates the imperialistic tendency of economics to deal with all kinds of issues.

The problem of invasive species is one of enormous concern, not only because they may cause disruption and losses to agriculture, forestry, and other parts of the economy, but also because of their potential use in bioterrorism. A country's biosecurity therefore depends on its ability to prevent incursion of new species, early detection of those species that escape border controls, and management of established populations. The issue however is that resources available to manage pest incursions are limited, and there is a need to prioritize the threats and allocate such resources in a manner that will yield the highest return on investment, i.e., minimize the costs and maximize the benefits. Both papers address this issue, starting with the underlying premise that while it is clear that the threat of invasive species can never be eliminated, it is certainly possible to manage the threats posed through a combination of pre- and postevent responses.

The first paper by Elbakidze and McCarl examines the economic trade-off between the costs of pre-event preparedness and postevent response to potential introduction of an infectious animal disease. The optimization problem addressed by the authors can be viewed from an insurance perspective as trying to determine the optimal amount (premium) that a decision maker should invest up front in the costs of pre-event actions so as to minimize the consequences of the risk. Specifically, the paper notes that pre-event actions impose costs regardless of event occurrence, while postevent costs are only incurred when the incident occurs and thus depend on the probability of the event when computing expected annual costs.

The authors use a simple theoretical model to analyze what they call the "balance problem" and subsequently conduct an empirical investigation using data drawn from the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) literature in the context of possible introduction into Texas. The paper does a nice job in setting out the issues and providing a discussion of an expanded framework for decision making in the context of an animal disease event. It identifies six basic categories including: anticipation, prevention, detection, installation, response, and recovery. The modeling approach is that of discrete stochastic programming and is suitable given that it can accommodate the notion that later decisions depend on both earlier decisions and on the outcomes of earlier uncertain events.

To my mind, the main contribution of the paper to the literature is the insight gained from attempting to apply the framework to data on FMD. The difficulties of modeling biological invasion are apparent and show up in the several assumptions that have to be made in order for the problem to lend itself to an optimization solution. The approach, however, does highlight the type of data that would be required when conducting an investigation of this type. While it is a fact that real world situations will involve making several decisions, most of which are contingent on previous ones, the results from the case study are encouraging. Although preliminary, the results provide a set of rules of thumb that decision makers might consider using in the absence of undertaking detailed investigations. For example, it is advisable to limit the level of preevent investments (insurance premium) in situations where information at hand suggests that the disease spread rate is small, the probability of disease introduction is small, and the response strategy is known to be effective. The main drawback to the study, as conceded by the authors, is the sensitivity of the analysis to the functional form and the parameters chosen. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Discussion of Biosecurity, Diseases, and Invasive Species: Implications of Bioterrorism for Agriculture
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.