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Epidemiology meets demography, simulation modelling and economic decision-making

A postgraduate research opportunity at the University of Otago.


Close date
Wednesday, 20 June 2018
Academic background
Sciences, Humanities, Health Sciences, Business
Host campus
Public Health (Wellington)
Professor Tony Blakely


In recent years there have been surges in methods and applications of simulation modelling (e.g. the impact of tobacco tax on future mortality rates), in parallel with counterfactual analytical approaches to causal inference and mediation (e.g. how much of the association of ethnicity with mortality is mediated by tobacco?). Often at the heart of simulation modelling of public health interventions are structural relationships of variables—causal webs. But do we get it right? Do we get the effect sizes on each 'arrow' correct? How can we do better? And does it make much difference to modelled outputs (e.g. change in mortality rates from a tax, and change in inequalities)?

As longevity improves, public health needs to focus more on quality of life—especially around the retirement age to ensure society can afford to support a longer living population. Which begs the question as to which health interventions not only extend quantity and quality of life, but also workforce productivity. To answer such questions requires a degree of sophistication and accuracy in simulation models that is not usually expected; can we do this?


Professor Tony Blakely
Tel   64 4 385 5541 ext 6086