We report on research that concerns the efficacy of health care markets and the health of the population. This includes:

The functioning of health insurance markets
The impact of incentive mechanisms for the provision and quality of health care services by physicians and hospitals.
The functioning of markets for pharmaceuticals and medical devices
The interaction between health outcomes and economic behavior, and the effect of policy levers in changing them.

Latest articles

Kidney Exchange: An Operations Perspective

Kidney failure is a leading cause of death around the world. The best treatment is transplantation, but no country is presently able to supply all the transplants required by its patient population. In the U.S. and many other countries, most transplants today come from deceased donors. Another source of kidneys for transplantation is from healthy […]

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How acquisitions affect firm behavior and performance: Evidence from the dialysis industry

Health care markets have become increasingly concentrated through mergers and acquisitions. Proponents of this consolidation cite several potential benefits, including lower costs due to economies of scale and better patient outcomes through coordinated care. Greater concentration may also result in higher prices or lower quality, however. In a recent paper, funded in part by a […]

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What Medicare Part D Teaches Us About Social Insurance Markets

Social insurance programs, such as health insurance and social security, have traditionally been paid for and provided by the government. However, more recently, there have been a number of high-profile initiatives to replace government-provided services with private provision via regulated competition. The motivation for these programs is if incentives are set up in the right […]

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Poor Little Rich Kids? The Role of Nature versus Nurture in Wealth and Other Economic Outcomes and Behaviors

Wealth is highly correlated between parents and their children; however, little is known about what drives this relationship. Is it that children of wealthy parents are inherently more talented, and that is what shapes their later success? Or is it that children had parents who gave them more opportunities because they themselves had more wealth? […]

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Life-cycle benefits of early childhood programs: evidence from an influential early childhood program

A substantial body of evidence shows that high-quality early childhood programs boost the skills of disadvantaged children.[1] Most of this research reports short-run treatment effects of these programs on cognitive test scores, school readiness, and measures of early-life social behavior. A few studies analyze longer-term benefits in terms of completed education, adult health, crime, and […]

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The First 2,000 Days: Investing in Children’s Skills Through Early Intervention

Children from poorer backgrounds typically have lower cognitive and socio-emotional skills. This is due to differences in the quality of the environment, with disadvantaged children facing lower family incomes, higher levels of stress, poorer parenting practices, and less academic stimulation.[1] Consequently, living in disadvantaged circumstances early in life is frequently associated with poorer health, education, […]

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When Fewer Options are Better for Consumers: The Benefits of Narrow Health Insurance Networks

The desirability and effectiveness of health network regulation depends on the reasons insurers might engage in exclusion in the first place, and whether the gains they realize are shared with consumers. In our research, we identify three main reasons why an insurer might wish to exclude a medical provider from its network, and we highlight […]

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Subsidizing health insurance for low-income adults: evidence from Massachusetts

How much are low-income people willing to pay for health insurance – and what are the implications for our understanding of health insurance markets and the role of subsidies? This research investigates these questions drawing on subsidy variation in Massachusetts’ health insurance exchange for low-income individuals.

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Regional variation in US healthcare use: evidence from patient migration

There is considerable geographical variation in the use of healthcare by beneficiaries of Medicare, the US federal health insurance program for people who are 65 or older. This research explores the extent to which regional disparities are driven by the providers, whose use of expensive tests or procedures might vary across different places, or by the patients, who might have different healthcare needs and preferences. Analyzing data on Medicare beneficiaries who have migrated from one part of the country to another, the study finds that patients and providers account for roughly equal shares of the differences in regional spending. The results provide a better understanding of the components of medical costs, adding nuance to the debate about possible inefficiencies in US healthcare spending.

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Do larger health insurance subsidies benefit patients or producers? Evidence from Medicare Advantage

A central question in the US debate over privatized Medicare is whether increased government contributions to private plans generate lower premiums for consumers or higher profits for producers. This research finds that insurance companies pass through 45% of higher payments in lower premiums and an additional 9% in more generous benefits for those who enroll in Medicare Advantage. Since the findings also suggest that the less than full pass-through is a result of insurer market power, efforts to make markets more competitive may be key to increasing the pass-through to consumers.

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