Theory verses empiricism in health economics: An analysis of the past 20 years

J. F P Bridges, P. Haywood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We report the results of a study analyzing the proportion of theoretical and empirical articles in two core health economics journals. The Journal of Health Economics published 30% theory during the period 1982-1986, but by 1997-2001 the proportion had risen to 40% theory. Health Economics published 38% theory during 1992-1996, but the proportion fell to 32% theory during 1997-2001. In both journals articles were more likely to be published by men (78%), and published women were 50% less likely to publish theory than were men. Articles were more likely to be published by United States authors (54%), but United States authors were less likely to publish theory than authors from other countries. Compared to other disciplines, health economics published a higher proportion of theory than sociology, chemistry, and physics but less than economics and political science.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)90-95
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Health Economics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes



  • Gender
  • Health economics
  • Methodology
  • Nationality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

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