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Product title :

The allocation of resources for animal health

Author(s) : K.S. Howe

Summary :

Economics is too important to be left to the experts. This paper is therefore mainly for animal health policy-makers who are not economists but want a better appreciation of how economics can contribute to resource allocation decisions. First, the methodology of economic analysis is outlined with the objective of dispelling criticisms of its simplifying assumption of rationality. Then, unusual in economics but more familiar to biological and veterinary scientists, the technical aspects of transforming resources into products are discussed. Economics’ unique contribution is to establish criteria enabling society to obtain maximum value from the production and distribution of goods and services (products) from scarce resources. Animal disease reduces the efficiency of this process. Value is intangible, but people reveal how much they value (i.e. feel a want or need for) products by what they actually consume, in quality and quantity. Animal products, and so implicitly animals themselves, are an example. The strength of people’s preferences is reflected both in the prices they pay for market goods and services, and by their political votes where markets do not exist.


Animal health – Animal health policy – Economic methodology – Economic welfare – Economics – Preference – Resource allocation – Values.

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