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The Economics of Autism in Egypt

Author(s): Roger Lee Mendoza

Journal: American Journal of Economics and Business Administration
ISSN 1945-5488

Volume: 2;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 12;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: Autism spectrum disorder | autistic | care provider | cost consequences | developmental/learning disability | direct cost | household-provider | indirect cost | health policy | opportunity costs | state | spillover effects | transaction costs

Problem statement: This was the first study ever done on the cost consequences of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Egypt or any other developing/industrializing country. The following questions were empirically investigated: What are the economic costs of ASD in Egypt and how do they compare with developed/industrialized countries? Why are cost consequences important in formulating ASD policy in Egypt and comparable countries? Approach: A statistical sample of 185 households, with at least 1 autistic family member, in the Greater Cairo Region was surveyed. Households were drawn from 3 distinct geographic clusters (urban, suburban and rural). Cluster sampling results were Chi-square (χ2) tested. In addition, relevant ASD policies were content-analyzed. Results: We discovered that care and support for autistic Egyptian children and adults are typically based on a household-provider model, in contrast to western, institution-based models. ASD costs in Egypt largely derive from much higher investments in time, attention and behavioral adaptation on the part of family caregivers. Hence, autism cost consequences in Egypt significantly differ from many developed countries. Conclusion: Opportunity and transaction costs, feedback effects and spillover consequences of the household-provider model should be carefully considered in health policy formulation. Making autism care and support available, affordable and reliable should be a major health concern of the state.
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