The Economics of Mass Deworming

Authors: Amrita Ahuja, Sarah Baird, Joan Hamory Hicks, Michael Kremer, Edward Miguel


We discuss how economic theory and evidence can be combined to determine the appropriate subsidy level for deworming. We review well-identified research that accounts for epidemiological treatment externalities. Findings show consistent positive impacts on school participation in the short run and on academic test scores, employment, and income in the long run, while suggesting that most individuals will not pay for treatment. There is also evidence for a fiscal externality through higher future tax revenue, which may exceed program cost. These findings suggest that the economic benefits of school-based deworming programs are likely to exceed their costs in endemic areas.