The Ideas and Influence of Alan Williams: Be Reasonable – Do It My Way

Mason, A.R. and Towse, A.

September 2008

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Perhaps best known for his work in cost-benefit analysis, Alan Williams was a man of principle who developed guiding values in health care economics that embraced and encouraged active intellectual engagement and progression. He was concerned with the philosophical and ethical issues that underpin decision making and his courageous intellectual battles bore new ideas and revised ideology.

This compilation of papers and further discussions arising from OHE's Alan Williams tribute conference provides an analysis of the evolution and current status of key concepts in the field.

To recognise and appreciate Alan’s legacy, the task falls to the health economics community to ensure that we do not shirk our responsibilities: the need to be intellectually rigorous without being rigid; to keep in sight the practical implications of our work; to acknowledge the shortcomings within our discipline; and to move forward in the spirit of the Williams way. -- Anne Mason and Adrian Towse in the Preface



A tribute to our friend and colleague, Alan Williams -- Richard and Peggy Musgrave

Citizens, consumers and clients: Alan Williams and the political economy of cost-benefit analysis -- Richard Sugden

Alan Williams and cost-benefit analysis in health care: comments on the paper by Robert Sugden -- Bengt Jönsson

The public-private challenge in health care -- Alan Maynard

Discussion of Alan Maynard's paper: “The public-private challenge in health care” -- Dominique Polton

Resource allocation in health care: Alan Williams’ decision-maker, the authority and Pareto -- Anthony J Culyer

Discussion of Anthony Culyer's paper: “Resource allocation in health care: Alan Williams’ decision-maker, the authority and Pareto” -- Adrian Towse

Being reasonable about equity and fairness: looking back and extending the Williams way – Aki Tsuchiya and Paul Dolan

2008 168 pages Paperback ISBN-10 1 84619 231 5 ISBN-13 9781846192319

With many thanks to Radcliffe Publishing for copyright permission.

Further details on Alan Williams can be found at