2016 Award Winners

Victor R. Fuchs Award: Frank Sloan

Frank Sloan is the J. Alexander McMahon Professor of Health Policy and Management and Professor of Economics at Duke University. He is the former Director of the Center for Health Policy, Law and Management at Duke (CHPLM) that originated in 1998. He holds faculty appointments in five departments at Duke, with Economics being his primary appointment. He did his undergraduate work at Oberlin College and received his Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University. Before joining the faculty at Duke in July 1993, he was a research economist at the RAND Corporation and served on the faculties of the University of Florida and Vanderbilt University. He was Chair of the Department of Economics at Vanderbilt from 1986-89. His current research interests include alcohol use and smoking prevention, long-term care, medical malpractice, and cost-effectiveness analyses of medical technologies. He also has a long-standing interest in hospitals, including regulation of hospitals, health care financing, and health manpower. Frank has served on several national advisory public and private groups. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine and was formally a member of the Physician Payment Review Commission. He is the author of about 300 journal articles and book chapters and has coauthored and coedited about 20 books.

ASHEcon Medal: Not awarded

Will Manning Award: Jones, Andrew M., Lomas, James, and Rice, Nigel. (2015) Healthcare Cost Regressions: Going Beyond the Mean to Estimate the Full Distribution. Health Economics, 24: 1192–1212.

Abstract: Understanding the data generating process behind healthcare costs remains a key empirical issue. Although much research to date has focused on the prediction of the conditional mean cost, this can potentially miss important features of the full distribution such as tail probabilities. We conduct a quasi-Monte Carlo experiment using the English National Health Service inpatient data to compare 14 approaches in modelling the distribution of healthcare costs: nine of which are parametric and have commonly been used to fit healthcare costs, and five others are designed specifically to construct a counterfactual distribution. Our results indicate that no one method is clearly dominant and that there is a trade-off between bias and precision of tail probability forecasts. We find that distributional methods demonstrate significant potential, particularly with larger sample sizes where the variability of predictions is reduced. Parametric distributions such as log-normal, generalised gamma and generalised beta of the second kind are found to estimate tail probabilities with high precision but with varying bias depending upon the cost threshold being considered.

Student Paper Awardees: Elena Prager (“Tiered Hospital Networks, Health Care Demand, and Prices”) and Juan Pablo Atal (“Lock-in in Dynamic Health Insurance Contracts: Evidence from Chile”)

Elena Prager is an economist interested in issues at the intersection of health economics and industrial organization. Her research focuses on the supply side of the health care market, studying strategic behavior among health insurers and health care providers. Current work examines the interaction of health insurance design, hospital-insurer price negotiations, and provider network formation. Prior to her doctoral studies at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Elena graduated with an iBBA in business and economics from York University. This fall, Elena will join Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management as an Assistant Professor.

Juan Pablo Atal is an applied microeconomist whose research focuses on different aspects of health economics. He is currently studying the workings of long term health insurance, the determinants of team productivity in the emergency department, and the effect of quality regulations on the pharmaceutical market. Prior to earning his PhD in Economics from the University of California at Berkeley, Juan Pablo graduated with a Bs. in Industrial Engineering and an M.A. in Economics from Universidad de Chile, and worked as a research assistant at the Inter-American Development Bank. This fall, he will join the Department of Economics at the University of Pennsylvania.