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2017 Program

Congress Overview

Detailed Program (to search the program hold the ‘Control’ (or ‘Command’ for Mac) key on your keyboard then the ‘F’ key. This will bring up the search tool which you can use to search for a name, submission ID, or paper title.

Detailed Program Overview (zoom in (hold 'Control/Command' then '+') to review session date, time and room allocations)


Plenary Sessions 

Special Organized Sessions

Accepted Special Invited Sessions

Mentoring Lunch



Plenary sessions

Highlights of the program include the confirmed plenary presentations by Carol Propper and Daron Acemoğlu.



Carol Propper is a Professor of Economics in the Department of Management and Imperial College Business School, London, where she is also currently the Associate Dean for Faculty and Research. She is a research fellow of CEPR, Europe’s network of leading economists, a Research Fellow of the Institute of Fiscal Studies, and has served on the ESRC Council, the Royal Economic Society Council and as Advisor to the Chief Executive of the NHS. Carol was awarded a CBE for her services to social science in 2010 and elected as a fellow of the British Academy in 2014.

Carol will make a plenary presentation on: The usefulness of competition and choice in heavily regulated markets

The introduction of competition and choice in health care markets is a popular reform model in health care systems which have historically been dominated by public finance and provision, and heavily regulated. The talk will examine the impact of various reforms to introduce market-based incentives with a focus on lessons from the UK and European countries.




K. Daron Acemoğlu is Elizabeth and James Killian Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a member of the Institutions, Organizations and Growth program of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. He is also affiliated with the National Bureau of Economic Research, and the Center for Economic Policy Research. He is an elected fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, the Turkish Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Econometric Society, the European Economic Association, and the Society of Labor Economists. He has also received numerous awards and fellowships.

Daron will make a plenary presentation on: Democracy and Health

This will first show democracy's robust positive effect on GDP per capita, and then demonstrate that this is also associated with improvements in infant mortality and life expectancy. These results are robust across a variety of different empirical strategies, including a dynamic panel data model with rich dynamics for GDP or health, semi-parametric matching methods, and instrumental-variables approaches. We provide some evidence that the results are partly due to improved investment in public goods in democracies.



Special Organized Sessions

In addition to the plenary sessions, there will be six Special Organized Sessions, designed to attract speakers who are prominent in emerging and innovative areas of health economics research to address ‘hot topics’.


Imperfect competition in health care markets: Theory and experiments

Competition is increasingly advocated as a force for improving health care quality, even in publicly-funded health systems. Recent large-scale empirical studies have demonstrated some of the potential for competition to improve healthcare quality and even save lives. However the mechanisms of competition in health care remain a black box and the many imperfections and idiosyncrasies of health care markets may give policymakers pause when deciding on whether to encourage competition between providers.


This session will explore cutting-edge research from three leading experts on the mechanisms by which competition affects healthcare quality. The speakers will describe new theoretical approaches to imperfections in the market for healthcare, such as the level of information patients have about provider quality, and the altruistic motivations of physicians. Evidence from experiments in the lab and in the field will be presented to validate theories and pose more questions for future research.



Ching-To Albert Ma, Boston University

Geir Godager, University of Oslo

Henry Mak, Indiana University – Purdue University

Organizer & Chair

Peter Sivey, RMIT University



Recommendations of the ‘Second Panel on Cost-Effectiveness in Health and Medicine’

The session will highlight the recommendations of the Second Panel, which released its final report in Fall 2016.   The session will feature summary presentations, interactions between attending members of the Panel, and several opportunities for questions/discussion from the audience.  An overview of the foundations of the Second Panel’s work and its key recommendations, particularly in terms of a reference case and an impact inventory, will be provided.  Some of the controversies and highlights of the Panel’s work will be explored.  Some of the issues that will be discussed by the panel include CEA and policy considerations and looking ahead to the next 20 years.


Presenters/panel members:

Lisa Prosser, University of Michigan

Joshua A Salomon, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Mark Sculpher, University of York


David Meltzer, University of Chicago

Peter Neumann, Tufts Medical Center


David Meltzer, University of Chicago



Value based purchasing: Comparing international experiences

In the last 20 years, a number of countries have attempted reforms to the way health care providers are paid, in order to tie payment to value or quality, rather than merely to volume.  Some reforms have been experiments or had a limited scope, such as initiatives taken by various private US insurers.  Other reforms have been applied on a larger scale, such as the British Quality Outcomes Framework or Australia’s Practice Incentives Program, both of which targeted general practitioners.  Several recent reviews concluded that many pay-for-performance reforms fell short of expectations.  More recently, policymakers in various countries have sought to broaden the focus from rewarding specific performance measures toward considering the overall value of care, in purchasing decisions made by health care payers. In addition to pay-for-performance, this broader approach includes innovations such as bundled payment and (in the US) accountable care organizations.


There is an important role for economic theory and evidence in evaluating the performance of value-based reforms.  Simple designs often ignore unintended effects that are readily predictable from economic theory, such as providers’ ability to shift effort away from unrewarded outcomes, or to select patients who will ‘look better’ on the measures. 


This session will discuss the experience to date with pay-for-performance and more generally with value-based purchasing, drawing on the speakers’ familiarity with reforms in a variety of countries. The goal is to use economic theory and evidence to inform future reforms in the area of provider payment.



Meredith Rosenthal, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Anthony Scott, University of Melbourne


Dominic Hodgkin, Brandeis University



Value frameworks: Current initiatives and future directions

The use of value frameworks (or value assessment frameworks) is increasing, particularly in the US as healthcare payers have not embraced a sole method for determining value.  These frameworks include the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s (MSKCC) Drug Abacus, the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) Value Framework, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network’s (NCCN) Evidence Blocks, the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association’s statement on Cost/Value Methodology and the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review’s (ICER) Value Framework.  Value frameworks are not confined to the US, the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) has followed suit with its Magnitude of Clinical Benefit Scale.  These frameworks are in contrast to the more formal health technology assessment processes in the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada where there is a focus on cost effectiveness analysis, specifically cost per QALY estimates.  Many of these frameworks appear to have been developed with little input from economists, despite the fact that defining ‘value’ and the associated trade-offs are core to our discipline.


In the 25th Anniversary Editorial in Health Economics Andrew Briggs put forward a “call to arms” for economists to engage in the debate on the appropriate use of value frameworks; this session is a first attempt at mobilizing the discipline and engaging in such a debate.  Lou Garrison will open the session with a short introduction of current value framework initiatives; Steve Pearson will present on ICER’s value framework, the only one being used to evaluate new medicines at launch; Richard Willke will then present findings from the ISPOR Special Taskforce on value frameworks; Andrew Briggs will round up the session with his reflections on future directions.



Steven Pearson, Institute for Clinical and Economic Review

Richard Willke, International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research

Andrew Briggs, University of Glasgow


Lou Garrison, University of Washington


Paula Lorgelly, Office of Health Economics

Carl Asche, University of Illinois



 Beyond causes and consequences: How can economics help tackle childhood obesity?

Childhood obesity presents the biggest global public health problem of modern times.  Children who are overweight have an increased risk of disease, have lower quality of life and an increased risk of adult obesity causing a huge societal burden over the life course.  Vast amounts of research funding have been invested across the world and whilst we now have a reasonable understanding of what causes childhood obesity, and what the consequences are, we have made comparatively less progress in identifying effective solutions to reverse this rising trend.


This session will focus on how economics can be used to help tackle childhood obesity.  It will focus on what economics can tell us about how individuals behave, and markets perform to create environments that promote healthier behaviors and offerings on both the demand and supply sides.  This session will focus on how fiscal incentives in particular might be used to change behavior, and on the application of economic evaluation to assist decision makers with implementing childhood obesity strategies.



Emma Frew, Birmingham University

Shu Wen Ng, University of North Carolina


Richard Smith, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine


Joanna Coast, University of Bristol

Bruce Hollingsworth, Lancaster University



Social experiments on financing and payment options

Universal Health Coverage is being embraced by the global community as a major policy goal to safeguard people’s access to health services and ensure financial protection. Researchers have explored a number of different approaches to provide efficient and equitable financing options for health care across the globe, particularly through social experiments or policy level interventions.


This session features presentations on experiment implementation methods and empirical evidence from various social experiments designed to study what works in financing health care and health insurance. Results from this body of literature will help to provide the evidence base for health financing policy and reform at the national and sub national level.



Paul Gertler, University of California at Berkeley

Winnie Yip, Harvard University

Ellen Van de Poel World Bank & Erasmus University

Co-chairs and organizers:

Jui-fen Rachel Lu, Chang Gung University

Jennifer Prah Ruger University of Pennsylvania


Accepted Special Invited sessions

A number of Special Invited Sessions were proposed for the Boston Congress. After evaluation of abstract submissions, the following are planned to appear on the program.


Child development in less developed countries

Organizer: Günther Fink (Harvard University)

This session will focus on children’s cognitive and socioemotional development in low and middle income countries. It is likely to include presentations of research on key risk factors for healthy development in low-income settings, and/or research evaluating the impact of programs targeting the healthy development of children under the age of five in these settings.


Access to medicines in less developed countries

Organizer: Peter Rockers (Boston University)

This session will focus on access to medicines in low- and middle-income countries. It is likely to include research on barriers to access, particularly those related to in-country availability and price, and/or research evaluating programs or policies that aim to improve access in these settings, for example supply chain strengthening programs or price subsidies.


Big data and health economics

Organizer: Denzil Fiebig (University of New South Wales)

This session will focus on new methods for use with big data as well as innovative applications in health economics. It is likely to include presentations related to predictive analytics, machine learning, high-dimensional data, big data and causal effects and associated applications especially using linked data.


Improving outcome measurement in economic evaluation

Organizer: Richard Norman (Curtin University)

Widely used methods for describing and valuing health might be considered imperfect or narrow in some circumstances. This session will focus on alternatives for describing and valuing outcomes in economic evaluation. It will include presentations discussing inclusion of non-traditional considerations not well captured within a QALY-type framework and novel approaches to valuation of health outcomes.


Cost-effectiveness thresholds:  where are we now?

Organizer: Paula Lorgelly (Office of Health Economics)

This session will present the current state of play with respect to cost effectiveness thresholds. It will include presentations on both ex ante and ex post assessment of thresholds such as retrospective analyses of HTA decisions, including critiques of the methods employed to extract thresholds from past decisions, as well as prospective studies which either seek to elicit society’s willingness to pay or estimate the opportunity cost of HTA decisions.


Implications of expanding access to mental health care

Organizer: Dominic Hodgkin (Brandeis University)

This session will include papers reporting on recent expansions of access to mental health care in various countries.  Expansions could take the form of better insurance coverage or a stronger direct public provision, among other approaches.  Outcomes of such expansion include utilization, spending, clinical outcomes, and how these vary for subpopulations.


Mixed public-private health systems

Organizer: Peter Sivey (RMIT University)

One of the main challenges of mixed public-private health systems is the regulation and supervision of private insurers and providers in the pursuit of more efficient and equal systems. This session will focus on the incentives associated with different regulatory schemes over private insurers and providers and their effects on issues such as health promotion, access to care, quality of care and out-of-pocket costs in mixed health systems.


Waiting times for healthcare

Organizer: Ana Balsa (Universidad de Montevideo)

This session will focus on the economics of waiting times in healthcare markets. It will include presentations of research concerning waiting times for hospital care, physician appointments, or in other contexts in the healthcare system. Topics are likely to include the relationship between waiting time and the forces of supply and demand, determinants of waiting time at the patient, hospital or system level, and the effects of policy changes on waiting time.


Experiments in health economics

Organizer: Emmanouil Mentzakis (University of Southampton) 

The session will focus on the use of experimental methods (both qualitative and quantitative) in health economics. Presentations will include studies exploring lab or field experiments of revealed or stated behavior which contribute to the methodology and/or the development of the field.


Demand and utilization of prescription opioids

Organizers: Albert A. Okunade (University of Memphis), Pinar Karaca-Mandic (University of Minnesota), and Justin Trogdon (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

Prescription opioid demand and utilization are increasingly important investigation areas in economics and public policy. Opioid use epidemics are rising in the U.S. and other countries. This broad class of drugs are over-prescribed, misused and inappropriately prescribed for pain sufferers. Despite their large social welfare effects for managing (acute and chronic) pains of many diseases, evidence is fragile on the demand and utilization of prescription opioids in the economics literature. The session goals are to investigate the factors influencing the demand and utilization of prescription opioids, implications of the differential strengths of the drugs for addiction, the roles of insurance coverage, the roles of alternative pain management regimens (e.g., medical marijuana and non-prescription heroin), and effectiveness of public policies (e.g., regulation), etc.


Demand and utilization of health services among those with multiple chronic conditions

Organizers: Justin Trogdon (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), Albert Okunade (University of Memphis), and Pinar Karaca-Mandic (University of Minnesota)

People with multiple chronic conditions (MCC) are heavy utilizers of medical services and present many challenges for care coordination and management. The goals of the session are to explore determinants of demand among patients with MCC and to present evidence on effective interventions or policies to better optimize care for multiple chronic conditions.




iHEA 2017 Mentoring Lunch: for health economics doctoral students (within a year of expected graduation) or post-docs (out less than two years) who are planning to seek a job in the next two years

Date: Sunday July 9th, 2017

Time: 13h15-14h45

If you have recently completed or will soon complete a doctorate in economics or health economics, we invite you to register for the iHEA 2017 Mentoring Lunch. Given our belief in the importance of mentoring, we will invite mentors who span the career spectrum in order to provide you with advice from different career stages and recent job markets. The sessions are planned to maximize exposure to senior colleagues and to allow for feedback from a range of viewpoints.

The mentoring session will be broken into several fifteen-minute sessions.  Each mentor will be paired with two students for each session. The format will allow for exposure to several different mentors.

Space is limited, so indicate your interest in attending this event early.

Thank you to our Mentoring Lunch Sponsors

Department of Economics, College of Arts and Sciences, Boston University

Harvard University

Health Economics Unit, University of Cape Town

Health Law, Policy & Management, Boston University School of Public Health

Markets, Public Policy and Law Group of the Questrom School of Business, Boston University

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill



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The International Health Economics Association was formed to increase communication among health economists, foster a higher standard of debate in the application of economics to health and health care systems, and assist young researchers at the start of their careers.

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