N-player mosquito net game: Individual and social rationality in the misuse of insecticide-treated nets

Keita Honjo, Akiko Satake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Many governmental and non-governmental organizations have distributed insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) to malaria endemic areas, which contributed to the reduction of malaria deaths. However, some people in malaria endemic areas used ITNs for alternative purposes such as fishery and agriculture. It is unclear why people threatened by malaria misuse ITNs. Here we develop a N-player mosquito net game, and theoretically show that the misuse of ITNs might be underpinned by individual and social rationality. In the mosquito net game, each player uses ITNs for malaria prevention or alternative purposes. The proper ITN use decreases the probability of malaria infection, while the improper ITN use increases the player's labor productivity. Each player's expected payoff is influenced by other players' strategies. We found that the misuse of ITNs can be a Pareto efficient Nash equilibrium. The maximum number of players using ITNs for malaria prevention is limited by insecticidal effectiveness of ITNs and extra income from ITN misuse. Furthermore, we found that players in a low-income community are attracted to the misuse of ITNs even if the probability of malaria infection is high. Introduction of a tax on ITN misuse was shown to be effective to motivate the players to use ITNs for malaria prevention. Our results demonstrate that understanding decision making of people in malaria endemic areas is essential to design more effective malaria control programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-46
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Publication statusPublished - Feb 7 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Applied Mathematics


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