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A Distributional Analysis of the Costs of Foodborne Illness: Who Ultimately Pays?

  • Elise H. Golan (a1), Katherine L. Ralston (a1) and Paul D. Frenzen (a1)

Abstract

This paper traces the economic impact of the costs of foodborne illness on the U.S. economy using a Social Accounting Matrix (SAM) framework. Previous estimates of the costs of seven foodborne pathogens are disaggregated by type, and distributed across the population using data from the National Health Interview Survey. Initial income losses resulting from premature death cause a decrease in economic activity. Medical costs, in contrast, result in economic growth, though this growth does not outweigh the total costs of premature death. A SAM accounting of how the costs of illness are diffused through the economy provides useful information for policy makers.

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