Deputy Director


The US and countries around the world are spending a substantial and rising share of income on health care. The care that is delivered today and the innovation available tomorrow are driven by public policy, private investments, and choices made by doctors and patients.  With advances in medical technology, all of those decisions come with increasingly high stakes for population health and for resource allocation.  Economic analysis offers a powerful lens through which to examine these issues.

The Health Economics Initiative brings together scholars from across the UChicago community to support the economic analysis of health policy and systems, including the effectiveness of public and private insurance markets, physician and patient behavior, administrative costs, and implications for labor economics. In an environment of polarized debate about major policy changes to address evolving health challenges, bringing analytically rigorous evidence to bear is crucial for better outcomes. This initiative delivers rigorous and timely research to inform stakeholders as they make tough choices in this vital sector.

Data Assets

Medical claims data is at the core of much of health economics research. The Health Economics Initiative is building data assets to help lower the barriers to research in this area for faculty and students across the university.

In 2018, we made our first purchase of Medicare claims data. The data covers 2010-2016 and includes the MedPAR, outpatient, home health, and master beneficiary summary files for 100% of Medicare beneficiaries. We plan to add additional files and years to increase the value of this data asset.

The data is hosted in a secure environment provided by the Center for Research Informatics (CRI) together with additional resources and procedures developed by the MWG in collaboration with the Research Computing Group (RCG) within the Department of Public Health Sciences.

Research Grants for UChicago Scholars

The Health Economics Initiative regularly initiates a call for proposals to the full Chicago Economics community for innovative research ideas. We are excited to support cutting-edge research from health economists on campus through eight grants to date, and we look forward to seeing the fruits of their efforts.

Robert Kaestner and Dmitri Koustas
Proposed Project Title: The Effect of Access to Health Insurance on Job Mobility, Self-employment and Gig Economy Participation

Joshua Gottlieb
Proposed Project Title: The Wage Distribution in Health Care

Jeff Grogger
Proposed Project Title: The Long-Run Health Implications of Transfer-System Reform

Rebecca Dizon-Ross
Proposed Project Title: Encouraging Abstinence Behavior in an Opioid Epidemic: Incentivizing Inputs and Outcomes

Harold Pollack
Proposed Project Title: Predictive Analytic Models for 911 Events Involving Individuals Experiencing Behavioral Crisis

Devin Pope
Proposed Project Title: Medical Guidelines and Doctor Behavior

Burhaneddin Sandikci
Proposed Project Title: Expanding the Donor Pool for Transplantation: Incentivizing the Use of Marginal Organs

Thomas Wollmann
Proposed Project Title: How to Get away with Merger: Stealth Consolidation and its Effects on US Healthcare 

Related Programs

This initiative supports two programs exploring distinct strands of health economics.

Associated Scholars

Associated Working Papers

BFI Working Paper Apr 8, 2020

The Fragility of Market Risk Insurance

Ralph Koijen, Motohiro Yogo
Topics:  COVID-19
BFI Working Paper Mar 25, 2020

Out of the Woodwork: Enrollment Spillovers in the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment

Adam Sacarny, Katherine Baicker, Amy Finkelstein
Topics:  Health care
BFI Working Paper Nov 24, 2019

Does One Medicare Fit All? The Economics of Uniform Health Insurance Benefits

Mark Shepard, Katherine Baicker, Jonathan S. Skinner
Topics:  Health care

Associated News

BFI News Feb 3, 2020

BFI Awards 16 New Grants In Support of Economics Research

The Becker Friedman Institute for Economics (BFI) is pleased to announce the award of 16 new grants supporting economics research by University of Chicago faculty and students in a...
Media Mention Dec 23, 2019

We Need a National Conversation About our Health Care Priorities

Boston Globe; Katherine Baicker
Topics:  Health care