Exploring antimicrobial resistance from a societal viewpoint: tools from welfare economics and preference analysis


  • Dr Marco Boeri

    Queen's University Belfast

Project summary

The development of antibiotics has added an average of 20 years to our lives. However, the rise of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is threatening to make them ineffective, posing significant risks and costs to society. Natural scientists are discussing and searching for solutions for AMR from many viewpoints, but seldom has the perspective of social scientists and that of citizens been explored with a view to enabling their full participation in solving it (e.g. by reducing misuse of antibiotics).

With this in mind, the basic idea of this project is to address AMR with the tools developed in environmental economics that have been brought to bear on problems such as pollution or climate change. Indeed the growing presence of antibiotics in the environment, which might worsen the AMR problem, can be considered a by-product of human activity (mainly from agri-food and health sectors). It is therefore possible to apply techniques from environmental economics, such as non-market valuation and preference analysis, to study the problem in terms of costs and benefits for society. Once the preferences of citizens to control AMR have been estimated, it will be possible to explore how tools from social marketing can be used to encourage the awareness and participation of the general public on this matter.