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Why the Econometrician is in Good Spirits – a workshop through the looking glass


  • Carl Hampus Lyttkens


This paper aims to explore the determinants of research-related quality of life (RRQoL) of econometricians in health economics. It is well-known (standard expression for not bothering to look up the references) that an extensive literature deals with the measurement and determinants of health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of the general population. However, if the standard neo-classical paradigm applies (self-interested, utility-maximising behaviour, etc), scientists are of course much more interested in the wellbeing of scientists than of other people. In addition to its intrinsic interest, this is an important issue for public policy. Analogously to the extra-welfarist approach in health economics (Hurley 2000), we may assume that the purpose of allocating funds to the scientific community is to maximise their RRQoL. We may safely assume that this interpretation is endorsed by the scientists in question (supplier-induced demand). While these issues are of considerable general interest, the analysis here focuses on individuals engaged in econometrics and health economics, due to the availability of a unique data set from the 16th European Workshop on Econometrics and Health Economics (cf. section 4). The analysis is based on a scientific principle established by Sellar & Yeatman (1975[1930]), who showed that “history is what you can remember.”1 This led them to such eloquent deductions as the observation (p. 83) that after the Glorious Revolution England was ruled by an orange (Williamanmary) or that the Danish conquest of England was a Good Thing as it was the cause of Alfred the Cake (p.16).2 Similarly, economics can be defined as those economic analyses that are memorable. Hence it comprises such important findings as the deadweight loss of Christmas (Waldfogel 1993)3 or that males can maximise their survival probability by becoming 185 centimetres tall or more (Fogel 1994).4 Following the Sellar-Yeatman principle, the analysis below is based on the author’s recollection from the Workshop in question. To minimise recollection bias, the first draft of the paper was composed during the very early morning flight (06.55 am) from Bergen to Copenhagen (survival analysis).5

Suggested Citation

  • Carl Hampus Lyttkens, 2007. "Why the Econometrician is in Good Spirits – a workshop through the looking glass," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 07/26, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  • Handle: RePEc:yor:hectdg:07/26

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jagdish Bhagwati & T. Srinivasan, 1986. "Religion as DUP activity," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 48(1), pages 49-54, January.
    2. Waldfogel, Joel, 1993. "The Deadweight Loss of Christmas," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1328-1336, December.
    3. Grossman, Michael, 1972. "On the Concept of Health Capital and the Demand for Health," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(2), pages 223-255, March-Apr.
    4. Hurley, Jeremiah, 2000. "An overview of the normative economics of the health sector," Handbook of Health Economics,in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 55-118 Elsevier.
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    JEL classification:

    • C01 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - General - - - Econometrics
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • Z19 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Other

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