Fredrik Erixon

Fredrik Erixon is a Swedish economist and writer. He is the Director of the European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE), a world-economy think tank based in Brussels he co-founded in 2006 together with Professor Razeen Sally. Since then Erixon has led the development of ECIPE to become one of Brussels leading research-based institutes. One of the leading world economy think tanks in the world, ECIPE has been awarded with several prizes. In 2010 the Financial Times ranked Erixon as one of Brussels 30 most influential people.

Fredrik Erixon is the author of several books and studies in the fields of international economics, economic policy, and regulatory affairs (welfare reforms, healthcare competition policy, et cetera). He has also advised several governments in Europe and the rest of the world, and is a frequent speaker at conferences.Prior to starting ECIPE, Erixon was an Adviser to the British government and the Chief Economist of Timbro, a Swedish think tank. He started his career as an economist in the Prime Ministers Office in Sweden and has later worked as an economist at the World Bank and for JP Morgan as an emerging market analyst. Erixon was educated at the University of Oxford, London School of Economics and Uppsala University.

It’s remarkable that Europe’s obesity challenge doesn’t get more policy attention. The share of the population that’s overweight or obese is already high and growing fast. By 2030, around 40 and 30 percent of Brits and Germans, respectively, will be obese. These are large numbers and should concentrate political minds on coming up with better policies addressing the scale and growth of obesity. For sure, that’s important for those who suffer from obesity and type-2 diabetes, sleep apnea, musculoskeletal diseases, or other diagnoses linked to obesity. It is also important for Europe’s economy and fiscal health. Nutrition intake shapes the productive capacity of an individual, or indeed of a whole population. Hundred years ago, feeding people with more calories was a good way to boost the economy. Now the economic challenge is rather about finding ways for people to eat healthier and treat obesity at source. Governments should respond by improving methods and choice of dietary counselling and boost the efficiency of programmes for lifestyle changes, but also recognize that access to treatment – among them surgery – is key for those patients that could no longer benefit from prevention measures. That should be part of an economic strategy for Europe because it’s far cheaper to treat overweight and obesity than to finance all the medical symptoms directly linked to weight problems. Obese people, shows the OECD, has 25 percent higher healthcare costs than the average. In the UK, the government’s Foresight study estimated that obesity will represent 13% of total healthcare costs by 2050. A colleague and I did some calculations on the cost of obesity treatment compared to the cost of healthcare systems from obesity-caused type-2 diabetes, and what we found suggests that healthcare systems in Europe can save resources. We studied five countries (Germany, France, Spain, Sweden,...