Opportunity for Health

Trade-offs and Policy Options — Using Insights from Economics to Inform Public Health Policy

New England Journal of Medicine · February 3, 2022

Public health practitioners come from a wide range of disciplines that reflects the multifaceted range of problems they must tackle. Economics meaningfully adds to these perspectives by clarifying key trade-offs and illuminating new policy options — including those that go beyond the delivery of public health services. A key contribution of economics to public health is the elucidation of complex trade-offs that may affect health-related behaviors, which include non-monetary costs and benefits that are often ignored by policymakers. Economic models can help public health policymakers craft more equitable policies that more fully account for the lived experiences and realities of various populations.