Optimal test allocation

Jeffrey Ely, Andrea Galeotti, Ole Jann, Jakub Steiner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


A health authority chooses a binary action for each of several individuals that differ in their pretest probabilities of being infectious and in the additive losses associated with two types of decision errors. The authority is endowed with a portfolio of tests that differ in their sensitivities and specificities. We derive a simple necessary condition for optimality of test allocation. In special cases, precision parameters of the allocated test are monotone in the individuals' types. We characterize the marginal benefit of a test, provide an algorithmic solution for the test-allocation problem and consider the benefits of confirmatory testing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105236
JournalJournal of Economic Theory
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • Epidemy control
  • Test allocation
  • Test sensitivity and specificity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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