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Complex Problems or Simple Solutions? Enhancing Evidence-based Economics to Reflect Reality


  • Chantale Lessard

    () (Department of Health Administration, School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal)

  • Stephen Birch

    () (Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis, McMaster University, School of Community Based Medicine, University of Manchester)


• The production of health, illness and recovery in populations is a complex process that embodies a wide range of influences and interactions between influences • Economic evaluation approaches oversimplify the decision-makers' problem by adopting inappropriate research paradigm that ignores the contexts in which health problems are experienced and health care is delivered • Complexity theory provides a basis for studying problems in their contexts and addressing questions about the circumstances under which interventions work best and what works in specific circumstances • Broad-based economic models already exist with the capacity to incorporate complexity

Suggested Citation

  • Chantale Lessard & Stephen Birch, 2009. "Complex Problems or Simple Solutions? Enhancing Evidence-based Economics to Reflect Reality," Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis Working Paper Series 2009-05, Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis (CHEPA), McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada.
  • Handle: RePEc:hpa:wpaper:200905

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