Mu, Jianhong (2012-05). An Integrated Study of Avian Influenza Impacts and Associated Climate Change Issues. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon


  • This dissertation examines issues related to avian influenza (AI) disease. This is done via three essays that individually examine: (1) the impacts of climate change on the probability and expected numbers of AI outbreaks and associated economic loss; (2) the effects that media coverage of AI outbreaks has on meat demand in the United States, and (3) the potential effectiveness of AI mitigation strategies on poultry production and welfare under a simulated AI outbreak in United States.

    The climate change and spread of AI outbreaks study finds that the probability and expected number of AI outbreaks increases as climate change proceeds. Particularly, past climate change has contributed to the current spread of AI disease by 11% and the future climate change will increase this spread by another 12%. Moreover, the underreporting probability of AI outbreaks is also examined and results show that the underreporting probability is much higher in countries with lower gross domestic production level, larger export of poultry products and more numbers of AI confirmed human deaths. Therefore, disease prevention and control plans should focus on these economically poor and climatically changed regions.

    AI outbreak information has significant effects on meat demand in the United States. In particular, impacts of overseas AI human deaths on meat demand equal 0.02% for beef, -0.005% for pork, and -0.01% for chicken for sample when there was no AI occurred in the United States, while it has smaller impacts on meat expenditure when using the whole sample. In addition, human deaths due to AI disease will increase beef demand and decrease that for pork and chicken. However, AI media coverage in short-run has insignificant effect on meat demand, which suggests that consumers are more cautious when cases occur within the United States as opposed to international cases.

    In the study on the effects and welfare implications of AI mitigation strategies, results find that vaccination strategy is welfare decreasing under most cases of demand shocks but is desirable in some regions when both domestic and excess demand decrease. Under the assumption of one AI outbreak in the United States, the associated mitigation costs because of past climate change are relatively small.

publication date

  • May 2012