From February 2017, information about the work of the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow is available and updated on the University of Glasgow website.

Economic evaluation of public health interventions

Work to apply health economic evaluation methods to complex social interventions has been pursued using the GoWell programme and through the SEED and THRIVE trials. The economic evaluation of housing and regeneration has been a particular focal point. The recent systematic review of housing interventions demonstrated the limited number of, and missed opportunities in conducting, economic evaluation. The economic evaluation of SHARP was the first of its kind and illustrated the limitations of applying standard health economic methods to complex social interventions intended to reduce inequalities, characterised by multiple stakeholders and intersectoral costs and outcomes. In recognition of this, the economic evaluation within the GoWell programme is developing an integrated societal approach´ to the economic evaluation. This combines different methods (cost consequence analysis, cost effectiveness analysis, cost benefit analysis) and tailors outputs to specific stakeholder needs. This approach is intended to result in further methodological innovation, generate a comprehensive evidence base and aid the translation of evidence into policymaking.

The programme also co-convened an MRC PHSRN-funded workshop on the economic evaluation of public health interventions.



Lawson K, Mason H, McIntosh E, Donaldson C. Priority setting in public health. In: Culyer T, editor Encyclopedia of Health Economics. Elsevier, 2014:155-162.

McIntosh E, Bond L, Donaldson C, Lawson K, Mason H. Economics of population health. In: Guest G, Namey E, editors Public Health Research Methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2014.


Fenwick E, MacDonald C, Thomson H. Economic analysis of the health impacts of housing improvement studies: a systematic review. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 2013;67:835-45

open access  

Lawson KD, Kearns A, Petticrew M, Fenwick EAL. Investing in health: is social housing value for money? A cost-utility analysis. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 2013;67:829-834

open access  

Lawson KD, Mercer SW, Wyke S, Grieve E, Guthrie B, Watt GCM, Fenwick EAL. Double trouble: the impact of multimorbidity and deprivation on preference-weighted health related quality of life - a cross sectional analysis of the Scottish Health Survey. International Journal of Health and Equity 2013;12:67

pubmed  open access  


McIntosh E, Lawson K, Donaldson C, White M, Kee F, Deverill M, Bond L. Report on a workshop on methods for the economic evaluation of population health interventions: conceptual and practical challenges. MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit Occasional paper no. 23, 2012

open access  


Lorgelly P, Lawson K, Fenwick E, Briggs A. Outcome measurement in economic evaluations of public health interventions: a role for the capability approach?. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 2010;7:2274-89