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Bernard M. S. VAN PRAAG


Bernard M. S. VAN PRAAG, economist in the field of Microeconomic Theory; Economic, Statistical and Mathematical Methods and Models; Demographic Economics. Member, International State Institute, Institution; Research Scholar, Netherlands Institute, Institution Advanced Study in Humanities and Social Sciences, 1983-1984.


VAN PRAAG, Bernard M. S. was born in 1939 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Candidatt (Actuarial Sciences), Candidaat, Dr University Amsterdam, 1960, 1964, 1968.


Assistant Professor, Econometric Institute, Institution, Rotterdam, 1964-1970. Association Professor of Economics, Free University Brussels, 70. Association Professor of Economics, Graduate School Management, Delft 1970-1972.

Professor of Economics, Leiden University 1972-1984; Co-Director Center Professor Public Economics, Leiden, 1975-1984. Professor Mathematics Economics, Econometrica Institute, Institution, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, since 1984. Association Editor, Journal of Health Economics, Economics Letters.


  • Member, International State Institute, Institution. Research Scholar, Netherlands Institute, Institution Advanced Study in Humanities and Social Sciences, 1983-1984.


In my monograph (1968), I tried to draw an analogy between probability distribution functions for random variables and cardinal utility functions for commodities. On the basis of the central limit theorem of probability theory, I showed that under fairly general assumptions, individual welfare functions (i.e. cardinal utility functions) tend to become lognormal (multivariate) distribution functions. In subsequent empirical research, I and my colleagues succeeded in estimating such welfare functions, at least for the one-dimensional concept of an individual welfare function of income.

This was done on the basis of attitude questions in surveys. The results, corroborated in about twenty large-scale surveys carried out from 1970 up to 1984 in European countries and the United States of America, may be used for the estimation of family equivalence scales, the assessment of the monetary value of household work and for poverty and income inequality analysis. They also provide information on the formation of norms on the basis of past experience and anticipated future and on the influence on an individual of his social reference group.

Secondary subjects of interest are the introduction of social security in an economic system with its effects for retirement and employment and statisticaleconometric estimation of linear models. In the last field,the population-sample decomposition approach was developed, which is quite helpful in understanding and solving problems with respect to missing data, sample selectivity and panel analysis.