The Economic Costs of Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Literature Review

  • Nicky RoggeEmail author
  • Juliette Janssen


Autism is associated with a range of costs. This paper reviews the literature on estimating the economic costs of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). More or less 50 papers covering multiple countries (US, UK, Australia, Canada, Sweden, the Netherlands, etc.) were analysed. Six types of costs are discussed in depth: (i) medical and healthcare service costs, (ii) therapeutic costs, (iii) (special) education costs, (iv) costs of production loss for adults with ASD, (v) costs of informal care and lost productivity for family/caregivers, and (vi) costs of accommodation, respite care, and out-of-pocket expenses. A general finding is that individuals with ASD and families with children with ASD have higher costs. Education costs appear to be a major cost component for parents with children with ASD.


Autism Autism spectrum disorder Direct costs Indirect costs Financial burden 


Author Contributions

The search and the filtering of the papers for the review article was performed by JJ (under supervision and with help from NR). JJ performed the abstraction of the data from the papers. Both NR and JJ worked on the writing of the paper manuscript. JJ mainly worked on the writing of the first draft. NR considerably reworked this draft and designed the tables for the figure. The revision of the paper was done by NR.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

The authors declare that the writing of the paper was done in compliance with all ethical standards.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Economics and Business, Research Centre for Economics (ECON)KU LeuvenBrusselsBelgium

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