I have published my research in journals such as the Journal of Health Economics, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Health Economics, Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Economics of Education Review, Journal of Population Economics, Environmental and Resource Economics, and European Journal of Neurology etc. A description of my main research themes is found below.

You can find my full list of publications here.

And here is my Google Scholar page.

Research Themes

The Value of a Statistical Life

How much resources should we allocate in public policy making in order to (statistically) prevent one death? This is something that we must consider in a large range of public policy decisions, e.g. how much to spend on environmental regulation, infrastructure improvements, and health care and public health programs. Explicit estimate of the value of preventing one death is also necessary for cost-benefit analyses of public policies when the outcomes include mortality reductions. Analysts apply what is called the value of a statistical life to compare the costs of policies with the benefit of saving lives (more formally, preventing fatalities).

Estimates of the value of a statistical life (VSL) is based on the marginal willingness to pay for (small) risk reductions scaled up on a population level. It is well known that there are a large number of empirical challenges in estimating the VSL. I started my research as a PhD student on topics related to VSL and methodological challenges in empirically estimating VSL. I still do some research related to this issue, but not running any current projects on VSL. My publications on VSL include:

The Value of a QALY

In economic evaluation of health care programs, analysts typically use cost-effectiveness analysis rather than cost-benefit analysis. In cost-effectiveness analysis the costs of a program is compared to the benefits of the program, where the benefits are measured using a non-monetary metric. The most common non-monetary metric used to measure and value health benefits is Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALYs). A QALY is the product of life expectancy and health related quality of life. The main limitation of a cost-effectiveness analysis is that the cost per gained QALY (with some program) does not directly indicate whether or not the program is cost-effective (because costs and benefits are measured using different metrics). The result, the so called Incremental Cost-Effectiveness Ratio (ICER), thus needs to be compared to some maximum value that we are willing to pay for a QALY. The value of a QALY may be based on the opportunity cost of a fixed health care budget or the consumer value (demand-side) of the health improvement. In the paper together with Hultkrantz (see below) we discuss these issues on a more conceptual level, whereas the other papers on this topic contain empirical estimates of the value of a QALY.

Cost-Effectiveness Analysis and Cost studies

Parallel to my methodological work on (health) economic evaluation methods I am very interested in being part of applied studies of treatment evaluations. Given my interest in the research methods per se, I am involved in applied studies in a large range of medical areas, including cardiovascular, psychiatry, orthopedics etc. I have also been, but nowadays to a lesser degree, involved in decision modeling studies. Publications include:

Program Evaluation based on Quasi-Experimental Approaches

There has been great advances during the last 10-20 years in the application of methods to estimate causal effects of programs and interventions using non-randomized data. This is especially important in settings where we have very rich register data (e.g. in the Scandinavian countries) that typically is under-utilized for research purposes other than descriptive studies (which is also important, of course!). Some of my research in this area includes:

Economic Conditions and Health

How does population health vary with macroeconomic conditions? Long-run economic development is fundamental to improve population health and increase life expectancy. However, there has been a field of research arguing that short-term fluctuations in the economy may also have significant effects on population health, and counter-intuitely some authors have argued that short-term economic upturns have detrimental health effects. I have contributed to this research in a few number of papers, and we typically do not find support for that view, rather we find that economic upturns have positive (or no) significant effects on health also in the short-term.


I have broad intellectual interests and from time to time get involved in research not directly related to my ordinary research. Below are papers that does not directly fit into any of the research themes as outlined above.

Full list of publications

A. Peer Reviewed Journal Papers

A-38. Björn Sund and Mikael Svensson, (2017), “Estimating a constant WTP per QALY – a mission impossible?“, European Journal of Health Economics, forthcoming.

A-37. Javkhlanbayar Dorjdagva, Enkhjargal Batbaatar, Mikael Svensson, Bayarsaikhan Dorjsuren, Burenjargal Batmunkh, and Jussi Kauhanen, (2017), “Free and universal, but unequal utilization of primary health care in the rural and urban areas of Mongolia“, International Journal for Equity in Health, 16:73.

A-36. Louise Persson and Mikael Svensson, (2017), “Classmate characteristic’s, class composition and children’s perceived classroom climate“, Journal of Public Health, forthcoming.

A-35. Josefine Persson, Lars-Åke Levin, Lukas Holmegaard, Petra Redfors, Mikael Svensson, Katarina Jood, Christina Jern, Christian Blomstrand and Gunilla Forsberg-Wärleby, (2017), “Long-term cost of spouses’ informal support for dependent midlife stroke survivors“, Brain and Behavior, forthcoming.

A-34. Hultkrantz Lars and Svensson Mikael, (2017), “A Comparison of Cost-Benefit and Cost-Effectiveness Analysis in Practice: Divergent Policy Practices in Sweden”, Nordic Journal of Health Economics, forthcoming

A-33. Beckman Linda, Svensson Mikael, Geidne Susanna, Eriksson Charli, (2017), “Effects on Alcohol Use of a Swedish School-Based Prevention Program for Early Adolescents: A Longitudinal Study“, BMC Public Health, 17:2.

A-32. Finseraas Henning, Jakobsson Niklas, Svensson Mikael, (2017), “Do Knowledge Gains from Public Information Campaigns Persist Over Time? Results from a Survey Experiment on the Norwegian Pension Reform“, Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, 16: 108-117.[Pressmeddelande]

A-31. Sund Björn, Svensson Mikael, Andersson Henrik, (2017), “Demographic determinants of incidence experience and risk perception: Do high-risk Groups accurately perceive themselves as high-risk?“, Journal of Risk Research, 20: 99-117.

A-30. Bonander Carl, Jakobsson Niklas, Podestá Federico, Svensson Mikael, (2016), “Universities as engines for regional growth? Using the synthetic control method to analyze the effects of research universities“, Regional Science and Urban Economics, 60: 198-207.

A-29. Jakobsson Niklas, Svensson Mikael, (2016), “Copayments and Physician Visits: A panel data study of Swedish regions 2003-2012”Health Policy, 120: 1095-1099.

A-28. Ryen Linda and Svensson Mikael, (2016), “Modeling the Cost-Effectiveness of Impact-Absorbing Flooring in Swedish Residential Care Facilities“, European Journal of Public Health, 26: 407-4011.

A-27.Dorjdagva Javkhlanbayr, Batbaatar Enkhjargal, Svensson Mikael, Dorjsuren Bayarsaikhan, Kauhanen Jussi, (2016), “Catastrophic health expenditure and impoverishment in Mongolia“, International Journal for Equity in Health, 15: 105.

A-26. Jakobsson Niklas and Svensson Mikael, (2016), “The effects of copayments on primary care utilization: Results from a Quasi-experiment“, Applied Economics, 2016: 3752-3762.

A-25. Andersson Henrik, Risa Hole Arne, Svensson Mikael, (2016), “Valuation of small and multiple health risks: A critical analysis of SP data applied to food and water safety“, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 75: 41-53.

A-24. Beckman Linda and Svensson Mikael, (2016), “The Cost-Effectiveness of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program: Results from a Modelling Study“, Journal of Adolescence, 45: 127-137.

A-23. Beckman Linda, Svensson Mikael, Frisén Ann, (2015), “Preference-Based Health-Related Quality of Life among Victims of Bullying“, Quality of Life Research, 25: 303-309.

A-22. Svensson Mikael, Nilsson Fredrik, Arnberg Karl, (2015), “Reimbursement decisions for pharmaceuticals in Sweden: the impact of disease severity and cost-effectiveness“, Pharmacoeconomics, 33: 1229-1336..

A-21. Ryen Linda and Svensson Mikael, (2015), “The Willingness to Pay for a QALY: A Review of the Empirical Literature“, Health Economics, 24: 1289-1301.

A-20. Andersson Henrik and Svensson Mikael, (2014), “Scale Sensitivity and Question Order in the Contingent Valuation Method“, Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 57: 1746-1761.

A-19. Persson Mattias and Svensson Mikael, (2013), “The Willingness to Pay to Reduce School Bullying“, Economics of Education Review, 35: 1-11.

A-18. Jakobsson Niklas, Persson Mattias and Svensson Mikael, (2013), “Class-Size Effects on Adolescents’ Mental Health and Well-Being in Swedish Schools“, Education Economics, 21: 248-263.

A-17. Hultkrantz Lars and Svensson Mikael, (2012), “The Value of a Statistical Life in Sweden: A review of the empirical literature”, Health Policy, 108: 302-310.

A-16. Andrén Daniela and Svensson Mikael, (2012), “Part-time sick leave as a treatment method for individuals with muskuloskeletal disorders”, Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, 22: 418-426.

A-15. Krüger Niclas and Svensson Mikael, (2012), “Mortality and economic fluctuations”,Journal of Population Economics, 25: 1215-1235.

A-14. Olesen Jes, Gustavsson Anders, Svensson Mikael, Wittchen H-U and Jönsson Bengt, (2012), “The economic cost of brain disorders in Europe”, European Journal of Neurology, 19: 155-162.

A-13. Gustavsson Anders, Svensson Mikael, Jacobi Frank, Allgulander Christer, Alosno Jordi, Beghi Ettore et al., (2011), “Cost of disorders of the brain in Europe 2010“, European Neuropsychopharmacology, 21: 718-779.

A-12. Wittchen H.U., Jacobi F., Rehm J., Gustavsson A., Svensson Mikael and Jönsson B. et al., (2011), “The size and burden of mental disorders and other disorders of the brain in Europe 2010“, European Neuropsychopharmacology, 21: 655-679.

A-11. Svensson Mikael and Hagquist Curt, (2010), “Adolescent Alcohol-use and Economic Conditions: findings from a multilevel study during a period of big economic changes”, European Journal of Health Economics, 11: 533-541.

A-10. Svensson Mikael and Vredin-Johansson Maria, (2010), “Willingness to Pay for Private and Public Safety: Why the Difference?”, Accident Analysis & Prevention, 42: 1205-1212. 

A-9. Svensson Mikael, (2010), “Alcohol Use and Social Interactions among Adolescents: Do peer effects exist within and/or between the majority population and immigrants?”, Social Science & Medicine, 70: 1858-1864.

A-8. Svensson Mikael and Hagquist Curt, (2010), “Adolescent Alcohol- and Illicit Drug-Use in First and Second Generation Immigrants in Sweden”, Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 38: 184-191.

A-7. Svensson Mikael, (2010), “Economic Upturns are Good for Your Heart but Watch out for Accidents”, Applied Economics42(5): 615-625.

A-6. Krüger Niclas and Svensson Mikael, (2010), “Good Times are Drinking Times: Empirical Evidence on Business Cycles and Alcohol Sales in Sweden 1861-2000”, Applied Economics Letters, 17(6): 543-546.

A-5. Svensson Mikael, (2009), “Precautionary Behavior and Willingness to Pay for a Mortality Risk Reduction: Searching for the Expected Relationship”, Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 39: 65-85.

A-4. Krüger Niclas and Svensson Mikael, (2009), “The Impact of Real Options on Willingness to Pay for Mortality Risk Reductions”, Journal of Health Economics, 28: 563-569.

A-3. Svensson Mikael, (2009), “The Value of a Statistical Life in Sweden: Estimates from Two Studies using the ‘Certainty Approach’ Calibration”, Accident Analysis & Prevention, 41: 430-437.

A-2. Andersson Henrik and Svensson Mikael, (2008), “Cognitive Ability and Scale Bias in the Contingent Valuation Method: An Analysis of Willingness to Pay to Reduce Mortality Risks”,Environmental and Resource Economics, 39: 481-495.

A-1. Svensson Mikael, (2007), “Don’t Go Breaking your Heart: Do Economic Upturns Really Increase Heart Attack Mortality?”, Social Science & Medicine, 2007, 65: 833-841.

B. Book Chapters & Policy Papers

B-8. Svensson Mikael and Nilsson Fredrik, (2016), “TLV:s betalningsvilja för nya läkemedel har analyserats” (in Swedish) , Läkartidningen, 113: 1280 (1-4).

B-7. Svensson Mikael and Hultkrantz Lars, (2015), “Ekonomiska utvärderingar i svensk offentlig sektor – likheter och skillnader” (in Swedish), Ekonomisk Debatt, 3: 40-50.

B-6. Hultkrantz Lars and Svensson Mikael, (2013), “Hälsorelaterad livskvalitet i den svenska befolkningen – en väg framåt?“, in “Den offentliga sektorn – en antologi om att mäta produktivitet och prestationer”, Expertgruppen för studier i offentlig ekonomi (ESO) 2013:8, Finansdepartementet, Stockholm. (English translation: “Health Related Quality of Life in the Swedish Population – a way forward?”, Ministry of Finance, Stockholm).

B-5. Svensson Mikael, (2010), ”Cost-Benefit Analysis”, Published in 21st Century Economics: A Reference Handbook, Rhona Free (Ed.), SAGE Publications,.

B-4. Svensson Mikael and Pettersson Johanna, (2010), “Psykisk sjukdom i Sverige: samhällets kostnader och forskningsinvesteringar” (English translation: “Mental Disorders in Sweden: Economic costs and research allocation”), Rapport skriven för Klasslänken för psykiatri vid Kungliga Vetenskapsakademien (Report written for The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences)

B-3. Svensson Mikael, (2009), ”Hypotetisk bias vid direkta värderingsmetoder – Hur stort problem och vad kan man göra? (English Translation: “Hypothetical Bias in Stated Preference Methods – How Big of a Problem and What Can Be Done?)”, Naturvårdsverket (Swedish Environmental Protection Agency), Arbetsrapport (Report).

B-2. Jaldell Henrik and Svensson Mikael, (2008), ”Värdering av olycksrisker – Nationalekonomi” (English Translation: “Economic Valuation of Accidents”), Räddningsverket (Swedish Rescue Services Agency), Research Report # P21-495/08.

B-1. Hultkrantz Lars and Svensson Mikael, “Värdet av ett liv” (English Translation: ”The Value of Life”), Ekonomisk Debatt, 2008, 2: 5-16.

C. Books

C-1. Svensson Mikael, (2007), “What is a Life Worth? Methodological Issues in Estimating the Value of a Statistical Life”, PhD Dissertation, Örebro Studies in Economics #14.