Returns on investment to the British bovine tuberculosis control programme

K. Aleks Schaefer, Daniel P. Scheitrum, Steven van Winden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In the animal health arena, government-mandated testing, herd movement restrictions, and culling of reactor (infected) animals are common practices in the midst of an infectious disease outbreak. These policies create a significant economic trade-off—on one hand, such control efforts represent a public good by reducing the negative externality of private actions associated with the transmission of infectious disease; on the other hand, they impose substantial economic costs on the affected farms. This paper empirically evaluates the economic trade-offs created by disease control efforts in the context of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in Great Britain. We find that—in this context—government control efforts are clearly cost-effective. Mandatory testing, imposition of movement restrictions on infected herds, and culling of reactor animals generate an annual external value of approximately £152 million to the British beef sector with a social return-on-investment of 3.46. Moreover, coupled compensation averts approximately 75% of the farm exits that would otherwise have resulted from these policies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)472-489
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Agricultural Economics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • CBA
  • GB
  • bovine tuberculosis
  • disease compensation
  • endemic disease
  • movement restrictions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics


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