Categories: 2010 Cornell

Plenary Speakers

Health, Healthcare & Behavior

3rd Biennial Conference of the
American Society of Health Economists

Dates: June 20-23, 2010
Location: Ithaca, New York
Venue: Duffield Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853

Sponsor: Cornell University, College of Human Ecology, Sloan Program
Co-Sponsors: Syracuse University and University of Rochester

Back to conference home page

Plenary Speakers

W. Kip Viscusi

Bio: W. Kip Viscusi is Vanderbilt’s first University Distinguished Professor, with primary appointments in the Owen Graduate School of Management and the Department of Economics as well as in the Law School. Professor Viscusi is the award-winning author of more than 20 books and 275 articles, most of which deal with different aspects of health and safety risk. His research focuses primarily on individual and societal responses to risk and uncertainty, and he is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading authorities on benefit-cost analysis. Professor Viscusi’s estimates of the value of risks to life and health are currently used throughout the Federal government.

He has served as a consultant to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the U.S. Department of Justice on issues pertaining to the valuation of life and health. He was deputy director of the Council of Wage and Price Stability in the Carter administration. He has served on the Science Advisory Board of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for over a decade and is currently on the EPA Homeland Security Committee.

Professor Viscusi is the founding editor of the Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, now housed at Vanderbilt. He is also the founding editor of a new journal, Foundations and Trends: Microeconomics. Before joining the Vanderbilt faculty, Professor Viscusi was the John F. Cogan Jr. Professor of Law and Economics and Director of the Program on Empirical Legal Studies at Harvard Law School. He has been the Allen Professor of Economics at Duke University, Professor of Economics at Northwestern University, and the Olin Visiting Professor at the University of Chicago.

Plenary Topic: “Heterogeneity of the Value of Statistical Life”

The value of statistical life is not a natural constant but varies with an individual’s age, income, attitude toward risk, and other characteristics. Viscusi’s presentation will examine the different sources of heterogeneity and explore the implications for policy analysis. The primary focus will be on labor market evidence, and he will also discuss stated preference studies.

Sherry Glied

Bio: Dr. Sherry Glied’s principal areas of research are in health policy reform and mental healthcare policy. She served as a senior economist for healthcare and labor market policy to the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, under both President Bush and President Clinton. In the latter part of her term, she was a participant in President Clinton’s Health Care Task Force. In 1996-1997, Dr. Glied was a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School. Her research on health policy has focused on the financing of healthcare services in the U.S.

She is an author of recently published articles and reports on managed care, women’s health, child health, and health insurance expansions. In recent health insurance-related research, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, she has been examining methods for modeling health insurance expansion programs. Some of this research has been incorporated in the estimating assumptions of the Congressional Budget Office. She is also continuing work on the U.S. employer-based health insurance system. In research sponsored by the Commonwealth Fund, Dr. Glied has been studying the characteristics of uninsured Americans and novel strategies to expand health insurance coverage to them. Her work in mental health policy has focused on the problems of women and children. She is currently conducting research, funded by the MacArthur Foundation, on the well-being of people with illness over the past 50 years.

Plenary Title:“Now what? The Health Economics Agenda after Health Care Reform”


  • How economic research contributed to health care reform
    • in the design of policy
    • in scoring
  • What new questions will policymakers need answers to as they implement health reform?
  • Can economics provide insights in these areas?
  • What kinds of research will be most useful?

Mike Grossman

ASHEcon Presidential Address: “It’s Better to be the First or One of the First even if You’re Wrong”

I highlight the importance of selecting new, interesting, and important research questions to investigate even if the answers that you uncover are challenged by others and turn out to be wrong. I do this by using examples from the work of an old discredited economist. First I discuss his work on the development of economic models of the determinants of health outcomes. Then I turn to his studies of the relationship between health and schooling. I conclude with his research on the economics of substance use and abuse and on economic aspects of obesity. What insights into behavior can be revealed by asking whether people choose their level of health? Does more schooling cause better health? Do demand functions for such addictive substances as cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine slope downward? Why has the prevalence of obesity increased so dramatically in the past three decades? Come to my presidential address for the answers and for the five rules of research that have guided my career.

Downloadable Description

Back to conference home page