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Honestly, Who Else Would Fund Such Research? Reflections of a Non-Smoking Scholar


  • Michael L. Marlow


Many public-health researchers are quick to raise charges of bias to explain away the few studies that reach politically incorrect conclusions. Claims of bias are often thrown at researchers who are funded by the industries targeted for aggressive intervention. This paper discusses whether it makes sense that bias is a relevant issue only when researchers have connections to private industry or find fault with government intervention. I focus on the issue of whether smoking bans harm any restaurant or bar owners. This area of research has experienced a large number of claims of bias and deception, leveled against research that does not enthusiastically support expanded intervention. This paper diagnoses the groupthink and deep biases of the structures and cultures within which pro-ban research comes into being. It also shows how intimidation is used to silence dissent and enforce taboos. It shows why it is important that we address the question: Who else would fund research that might come to politically incorrect conclusions on such issues?

Suggested Citation

  • Michael L. Marlow, 2008. "Honestly, Who Else Would Fund Such Research? Reflections of a Non-Smoking Scholar," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 5(2), pages 240-268, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:ejw:journl:v:5:y:2008:i:2:p:240-268

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Boyes, William J & Marlow, Michael L, 1996. "The Public Demand for Smoking Bans," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 88(1-2), pages 57-67, July.
    2. Rajeev K. Goel & Michael A. Nelson, 2006. "The Effectiveness of Anti-Smoking Legislation: A Review," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(3), pages 325-355, July.
    3. Benjamin C. Alamar & Stanton A. Glantz, 2007. "Smoking in Restaurants: A Reply to David Henderson," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 4(3), pages 292-295, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tomlin Jonathan T., 2009. "The Impact of Smoking Bans on the Hospitality Industry: New Evidence from Stock Market Returns," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-19, March.

    More about this item


    Smoking bans; government intervention; tobacco control; externalities;

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • H0 - Public Economics - - General
    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities


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