Economics - General

Why research in health economics is particularly interesting

The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis has a long but very interesting interview with Amy Finkelstein, one of the preeminent health economist of our time.    The interview covers a number of topics including the correlation between adverse selection and risk aversion, annuity markets, geographic variation in health care spending, the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment, and other. Despite these various topics, I wanted to highlight one particular excerpt giving an overview of why studying health economics is so interesting.

There are areas of economics that are incredibly important and the policy world has not caught up, but where the economists are mostly in agreement on what the optimal solution is. But what’s exciting to me about this work on health care delivery is, well, if you made me king of the world, I wouldn’t actually know what we should do.

The constraints in health care delivery aren’t just constraints of the political process; there are a lot of real intellectual constraints. There’s a lot we don’t yet know about how best to design these systems, and that makes it an extremely fun and exciting area to work in and to advise students in.

In fact, this rationale–that health economics has so many unsolved research questions–is one of the main reasons I decided to focus my research in this area.



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