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Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis


Faculty members Birch, Gafni ranked among world's top economists

16 Nov 2011

Two current and three former CHEPA faculty members have been ranked among the most influential health economists in the world, in a report prepared for the World Bank.

Stephen Birch and Amiram Gafni, both long-time members of CHEPA, and Bernie O’Brien, a CHEPA faculty member who died in 2004, are included in the top 100 health economists in the world, based on a measure of health economics publications and the number of times they have been cited.

Birch and Gafni were tied for 35th on the list with several others, and O’Brien was tied for 44th.

The rankings were compiled as part of a working paper produced by the Human Development and Public Services Team, Development Research Group, of the World Bank. Authors Adam Wagstaff and Anthony J. Culyer looked at the growth of research in the field of health economics over the past 40 years, reported on the changing topics and geographical focus in the field, and compared authors, countries, institutions and journals in terms of the volume of publications and their influence as measured through various citation-based indices.

The list of top 100 health economists was based on a particular metrix, the ‘h-index’. The index combines the number of articles published and the number of citations of the most cited articles of an author or an organization. Created initially to rank physicists, it is now one of the most widely used citation-based summary measures of scholarly influence.

Based on the criteria used by the authors, Birch was an author on 30 publications that have been cited more than 1,000 times in the last 40 years. Gafni had 37 publications with nearly 1,200 citations, and O’Brien had 24 publications with more than 1,250 citations.

Two of CHEPA’s founders were also listed in rankings included in the report. In the list of the top 300 most-cited publications by topic, George Torrance’s 1986 publication entitled Measurement of Health State Utilities for Economic Appraisal: A Review, was ranked 11th overall, and was the most cited paper among the 30 publications on the topic of economic evaluation, included in the list. Another of his publications, Multi-attribute Preference Functions: Health Utilities Index, was ranked 118th overall, and 10th within economic evaluations topic.

David Feeny, another of CHEPA’s founders, also had a paper in the list of most-cited publications. His 1995 report Multi-attribute Health Status Classification Systems: Health Utilities Index, was 83rd on the top 300 list.

Michel Grignon, director of CHEPA, said the rankings in the report are an indication of the significant impact CHEPA faculty have made over the years on the field of health economics research.

To view the full working paper, click here.

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