Alice Chen

Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics
University of Southern California
635 Downey Way
Los Angeles, CA 90089-3333
Tel: (213) 821-1763

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org

NBER Working Papers and Publications

January 2016Saving Lives or Saving Money? Understanding the Dual Nature of Physician Preferences
with Darius N. Lakdawalla: w21930
A longstanding literature highlights the tension between the altruism of physicians and their desire for profit. We develop new implications for how these competing forces determine pricing and utilization. Altruism encourages providers to reduce utilization in response to higher prices, but profit-maximization does the opposite. Rational physicians behave more altruistically when treating poorer patients or those facing higher medical costs, and when foregone profits are lower. These insights help explain observed heterogeneity in pricing dynamics. We show that average price elasticities vary from 0.6 to 1.1 for a given physician, depending on the patient socioeconomic status and out-of-pocket cost burden. This finding has important implications for the design of reimbursement by Medicare...

Published: A. Chen & D. Lakdawalla, 2017. "SAVING LIVES OR SAVING MONEY? UNDERSTANDING THE DUAL NATURE OF PHYSICIAN PREFERENCES," Innovation in Aging, vol 1(suppl_1), pages 1343-1343.

August 2015Health Care Spending: Historical Trends and New Directions
with Dana Goldman: w21501
Over the last five decades, broad changes in the US health care system have dramatically influenced growth in health care expenditures. These structural changes have also influenced the trajectory of the health economics research. This paper reviews some of the seminal health economics papers (measured by citations) and identifies the salient factors driving the growth of medical expenditures. We find that the research identified – and was strongly influenced by – four eras of expenditure growth: (1) coverage expansion; (2) experimentation with financial incentives; (3) the managed care backlash; and (4) a golden era of declining expenditure growth. We conclude by discussing some themes from this research suggesting optimism that, going forward, we can curb excess expenditure growth above ...

Published: Alice Chen & Dana Goldman, 2016. "Health Care Spending: Historical Trends and New Directions," Annual Review of Economics, vol 8(1). citation courtesy of

September 2014Why is Infant Mortality Higher in the US than in Europe?
with Emily Oster, Heidi Williams: w20525
The US has higher infant mortality than peer countries. In this paper, we combine micro-data from the US with similar data from four European countries to investigate this US infant mortality disadvantage. The US disadvantage persists after adjusting for potential differential reporting of births near the threshold of viability. While the importance of birth weight varies across comparison countries, relative to all comparison countries the US has similar neonatal (<1 month) mortality but higher postneonatal (1-12 months) mortality. We document similar patterns across Census divisions within the US. The postneonatal mortality disadvantage is driven by poor birth outcomes among lower socioeconomic status individuals.

Published: Chen, Alice, Emily Oster, and Heidi Williams. 2016. "Why Is Infant Mortality Higher in the United States Than in Europe?" American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 8 (2): 89-124.

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