Improving Health Outcomes for an Aging Population
This long-running NBER program project focuses on health trends and disparities, determinants of health, and the effective use of health care resources to improve outcomes for an aging population. Project 1 (Case and Deaton) explores variations in health trends across geography, race and ethnicity, education, and cohort, identifying and analyzing the life circumstances of those whose health and wellbeing have worsened. Project 2 (Maestas) focuses on the increasing prevalence of pain and opioid use, and their relationship to health outcomes, work, and disability program enrollment. Project 3 (Duflo) analyzes the rapid rise in chronic disease in aging, poorer populations (focusing on India), and the potential role of public policy interventions in improving health in a global context. Project 4 (Baicker and Obermeyer) applies machine learning tools to administrative data to identify overuse (reflecting care with little health benefit relative to its cost or risks) and underuse (reflecting missed opportunities for health benefits) of medical services, focusing on the case of diagnostic testing. Project 5 (Kolstad and Handel) analyzes the impact of information technology in physician treatment decisions, and the potential health benefits of expanded use of IT in health care. Project 6 (Chandra and Sacarny) looks at how information about provider quality affects patients’ decisions about their medical care, and whether information on quality improves health care market performance through competition. Project 7 (Baicker and Finkelstein) looks at the effect of public health insurance on health care and outcomes for poor adults, using a randomized controlled design enabled by Oregon’s health insurance lottery. Project 8 (Williams) looks at policies that stimulate or impede research and innovation in medicine, and the degree to which the “new uses” problem results in underinvestment in innovations with a potentially positive social value.
The program project leverages synergies in methods, data sources, and health issues addressed, building on common themes of health trends and disparities, the role of information for patients and providers, and the potential for different policies to improve health. This research has particular importance in the context of societal changes in demographics, population health, health policy, health care organization, and medicine. The program project will also continue to serve as the organizational foundation for a much larger community of scholars engaged in health-related research at the NBER, attracting some of the most talented scientists from each new generation of economists to the study of health issues. Linking this community to health researchers in other disciplines, particularly in medical and clinical fields, is an important new aim of the program, fostering the cross-disciplinary approaches needed to tackle the most pressing health issues facing an aging population.
This project is supported by the National Institute on Aging under grant number P01AG005842.
Katherine Baicker is Dean and Emmett Dedmon Professor at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. Her research focuses on the effects of public and private health insurance coverage on the distribution and quality of health care services.
Joseph J. Doyle is the Erwin H. Schell Professor of Management and Applied Economics at the MIT Sloan School of Management. His research ranges widely in the field of health economics, addressing both the delivery of health care services and the operation of health insurance markets.
Anne Case is the Alexander Stewart 1886 Professor of Economics and Public Affairs, Emeritus, at Princeton University. Her research focuses on the determinants of health status over the lifecycle, from childhood to old age.
Angus Deaton is the Dwight D. Eisenhower Professor of Economics and International Affairs, Emeritus, and a Senior Scholar in the School of Public and International Affairs, at Princeton University. His research focuses on economic and health inequality.
Nicole Maestas, an Associate Professor of Health Care Policy at the Harvard Medical School, studies how the health and disability insurance systems affect individual economic behaviors, such as labor supply and the consumption of medical care.
David Cutler is the Otto Eckstein Professor of Applied Economics at Harvard University. His research interests include the determinants of health status and longevity, the economics of health care delivery, and health policy.
Mary Beth Landrum is a professor of health care policy in Harvard Medical School’s Department of Health Care Policy. A biostatistician, her research focuses on the development and application of statistical methodology for health services research.
Annetta Zhou is an Associate Economist at the RAND Corporation. Her research focuses on the relationship between the market structure, organization, and innovation of health care providers and care cost and quality.
Esther Duflo is the Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics at MIT. Her research, for which she was awarded the Nobel prize in economics, uses randomized controlled trials to understand the economic lives of the poor and to improve the design and evaluation of social policies.
Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee is the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at MIT. His wide-ranging research in development economics includes application of randomized controlled trials to understand the determinants of and consequences of poverty in low-income countries, work for which he was awarded the Nobel prize in economics.
Ziad Obermeyer is the Blue Cross of California Distinguished Professor of Health Policy and Management at the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley. He research examines questions in medicine and health policy using econometric methods and machine learning tools.
Ben Handel is an Associate Professor of Economics at the University of California – Berkeley. His research focuses on consumer choice and market structure regarding health insurance markets, and on regulation of insurance markets.
Jonathan T. Kolstad is an associate professor of economic analysis and policy at the University of California, Berkeley Hass School of Business. His research interests lie at the intersection of health economics, industrial organization, and public economics.
Amitabh Chandra is the Henry and Allison McCance Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. His research focuses on innovation and pricing in the biopharmaceutical industry, value in health care, and racial disparities in health and health care.
Adam Sacarny is an assistant professor of health policy and management at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. His research explores the relationship between health care payment policy, provider and patient decision-making, and clinical quality.
Heidi Williams is the Charles R. Schwab Professor of Economics at Stanford University. Her research investigates the causes and consequences of technological change, with a particular focus on health care markets. She has been an NBER affiliate since 2010.
Amy Finkelstein is the John and Jennie S. MacDonald Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the co-founder and Co-Scientific Director of the Jameel Poverty Action Lab-North America. Her research interests focus on public finance and health economics, particularly market failures and government intervention in insurance and health care markets. She has been an NBER affiliate since 2001.
Supported by the National Institute on Aging grants #P01AG005842 and #3P01AG005842-32S1 and the National Institutes of Health grant #P01AG005842
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