Visualization of multi-disciplinary malaria data to improve policy decision making

Derek Willis

This study’s goal was to examine whether framing policy choices impacts the decision making of infectious disease experts, researchers and clinicians, globally. It also examines whether their risk preferences, as demonstrated by choices, are also influenced by the degree of development of their origin country. Our study was the first attempt to target an international sample of public health researchers and professionals to determine if the responses of this expert population, which informs health policies, are consistent with previous studies on students, doctors and the general public. We conducted a survey of 1,140 (44% female, median age of 45, 56% from OECD countries) international infectious disease experts in order to examine how framing affects policy decisions.


Major Findings

  • Infectious disease experts from countries with a lower Human Development Index, a UNDP statistic of a country’s human development, are more likely to choose the risky option in a modified version of the ‘Asian Disease’ task.
  • Infectious disease experts with high numeracy and clinical experience are less likely to choose the risky option.


Broader Impacts

  • The broad implication of these findings is that infectious disease experts are susceptible to alternative ways of framing policy choices and that their decisions are also affected by their country of origin.


CRED2 Award (2010-2015): Funding was provided under the cooperative agreement NSF SES-0951516 awarded to the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions.