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I am Professor in Health Economics at the Institute in Health and Society (IRSS) and Institute of Economic and Social Research (IRES) at the Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain) in Belgium.

My research interests are in the area of Health Economics, Labour Economics, and Applied Econometrics. 

I am an honorary visiting Professor at the University of Leeds, UK.

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​The distinction between effort and other factors, such as family background, matters for correcting policies and normative reasons when we appeal to inequality of opportunity. We take advantage of a purposefully designed survey on secondary schools in rural Bangladesh to offer a comprehensive view of the importance of overall effort when measuring inequalities of opportunity in education. The analysis comprises decomposition exercises of the predicted variance of student performance in mathematics and English by source (effort, circumstances, etc.) and subgroup (within- and between-schools) based on parametric estimates of educational production functions. Pupils’ effort, preferences, and talents contribute between 31% and 40% of the total predicted variances in performance scores. The contribution of overall effort falls by 10% when the correlation between effort and circumstances is taken into account. These findings are robust to the choice of estimation strategy (i.e. combined within- and between-schools variation models versus multilevel random-effect models). All in all, these results advocate that social determinism in education can be mitigated by individual effort at school.

Once a safe COVID-19 vaccine will become available, there will not be enough supply of it to vaccinate the entire population. Policy makers at national and international level are currently developing vaccine prioritization strategies. However, it is important that these strategies have sufficient levels of public support. We conducted a ranking exercise and a discrete choice experiment on a representative sample of 2,000 Belgians in order to elicit their preferences regarding how to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine across the population. We identified that three sub-groups had similarly high levels of support for access priority: the chronically ill, essential professions, and individuals likely to spread the virus the most. We identified two clusters of respondents. While both wanted to vaccinate essential professions, cluster one (N=1058) primarily wanted to target virus spreaders whereas cluster two (N=886) wanted to prioritize the chronically ill. Prioritizing those over 60 years of age was remarkably unpopular. Other strategies such as allocating the vaccine using a ‘lottery’, ‘first-come, first-served’ approach or willingness-to-pay received little support. Public opinion is a key variable for a successful engaged COVID-19 vaccination policy. A strategy simultaneously prioritizing medical risk groups, essential professions and spreaders seems to be most in line with societal preferences. When asked to choose, people agree to vaccinate essential professions but disagree whether to prioritise people with high-medical risk or virus spreaders. 

Media coverage: VoxEU; CEPR Video interview ; Le Soir ; De Standaard ; Alternatives Economiques; RTBF; l'Avenir

  • Inequality of opportunities in health and death: an investigation from birth to middle age in Great Britain - with Damien Bricard, Florence Jusot and Alain Trannoy. Available in International Journal of Epidemiology, Volume 49, Issue 5, October 2020, Pages 1739–1748. Available here

We assess the existence of unfair inequalities in health and death using the normative framework of inequality of opportunities, from birth to middle age in Great Britain.We use data from the 1958 National Child Development Study, which provides a unique opportunity to observe individual health from birth to the age of 54, including the occurrence of mortality. We measure health status combining self-assessed health and mortality. We compare and statistically test the differences between the cumulative distribution functions of health status at each age according to one childhood circumstance beyond people’s control: the father’s occupation. At all ages, individuals born to a ‘professional’, ‘senior manager or technician’ father report a better health status and have a lower mortality rate than individuals born to ‘skilled’, ‘partly skilled’ or ‘unskilled’ manual workers and individuals without a father at birth. The gap in the probability to report good health between individuals born into high social backgrounds compared with low, increases from 12 percentage points at age 23 to 26 at age 54. Health gaps are even more marked in health states at the bottom of the health distribution when mortality is combined with self-assessed health. There is increasing inequality of opportunities in health over the lifespan in Great Britain. The tag of social background intensifies as individuals get older. Finally, there is added analytical value to combining mortality with self-assessed health when measuring health inequalities.

Forthcoming invitations as a speaker 

Media coverage

 

  • December 2019 - We have published a large audience article in French with Setti Rais-Ali in Regards Economiques entitled "Les maladies rares: des enjeux pour les économistes". The paper was cited in several media communications: RTBF La Première, Le SoirRTBF La Une JT