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Setting priorities during pandemics

This projects aims to present a framework for making sound decisions in times of pandemics - when experience and time is scarce, and uncertainties are many. 

This project contributes to society’s understanding of and preparedness for future pandemics by conducting foundational research on three of the most pressing, understudied normative issues that arise during pandemics. The purpose is to develop a framework for priority-setting during pandemics.
First, pandemics raise difficult questions regarding what sort of impact should be taken into consideration when different policies are evaluated (e.g., only direct effects attributable to the disease or all effects). The project examines which types of information should influence the response to a pandemic and how.
Second, the pandemics force decision makers to make prioritization decisions that they are not used to (e.g., due to scarcity of personal protective equipment). The project studies which pattern of distribution is desirable when scarce goods are distributed during pandemics.
Third, as new pandemics occur, they tend to come with unusual amount of uncertainty and expert disagreement (e.g., concerning the number of people who will die from a disease given different policies). The project analyzes what an appropriate societal approach to such uncertainties and disagreements is.
By addressing these issues, the project will present a framework for priority-setting during pandemics and contribute to society’s intellectual preparedness for future pandemics.



Principal Investigator

Anders Herlitz Associate Professor, Practical Philosophy

Other project members


The Swedish Research Council