Call for Applications: Predoctoral Fellowships in Health Economics Research

The Initiative on Enabling Choice and Competition at the University of Chicago is accepting applications for predoctoral fellowship awards. The fellowship is meant to encourage original inquiry that will deepen our understanding of health and health care markets and how they relate to the overall economy.

Fellows awarded funding will conduct research on the economics of health and health care under Professors Casey B. Mulligan and Tomas J. Philipson, as well as interact and collaborate with a large network of other economics scholars at the institute and throughout the University of Chicago.

Awardees from organizations other than The University of Chicago will be based at their home institution but will likely visit The University of Chicago during the course of the grant period, safety permitting.


We welcome applications from current PhD students and researchers at institutions both within and outside the US.


The program will provide dissertation fellowships to PhD students in the amount of $17,500. Fellows will receive $10,000 of funding upon notification of the award, and the remaining $7,500 will be awarded upon receipt of dissertation.

Fellows will be required to write a dissertation on the economics of health care under Professors Mulligan and Philipson and participate in a late fall workshop at the University of Chicago, where they will present and discuss their work.

Awards will be announced on January 1, 2023.

Application Requirements

The application deadline is December 31, 2022. Submissions should be no longer than five pages and include a description of the research to be conducted while in the program. Please apply using the following link.

Should you encounter any issues, please email jmanor@uchicago.edu.

2022 Fellowship Winners

Vitor Melo

Vitor Melo is a PhD student in Economics at Clemson University and is originally from Brazil. His research fields are health economics, public economics, and the economics of regulation. Much of his current research uses theoretical modeling, causal inference methods, text analysis, and GIS spatial analysis to evaluate the economic effects of health regulation.

“My research is focused on the economic effects of regulation, with special attention to health regulation. My current research project applies a synthetic control analysis of the repeal of nursing home Certificate-of-Need laws (NH-CON) in Pennsylvania, Indiana, and North Dakota to evaluate the effect of removing this regulation on the revenues of nursing homes and Medicaid nursing home expenditures. I develop a model where NH-CON is unique among Certificate-of-Need regulations because individuals in need of nursing home services can substitute towards services in neighboring states, and consequently bring their Medicaid expenditures to the new state. I find that repealing NH-CON led to a substantial and significant increase in the revenue of nursing homes and Medicaid nursing home expenditure in Pennsylvania, but not in Indiana or North Dakota. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that some nursing home consumers in states regulated by NH-CON migrated to Pennsylvania after the repeal of this law, where the nursing home services are relatively better substitutes than those in Indiana and North Dakota. Other research projects include a spatial analysis of the impact of Certificate-of-Need laws on rural healthcare access, as well as an evaluation of the impact of gasoline self-service bans on gasoline prices in Oregon.”

Pyoungsik Kim

Pyoungsik Kim is a fifth-year student in the Ph.D. program in Economics at UNC-Chapel Hill. His research interests are in Labor, Health, and Development. His research focuses on providing insights on a wide range of empirically challenging topics, such as health insurance, migration, and discrimination, based on microdata and econometrics techniques. In particular, through the lens of the search framework, he tries to recover the model’s structural parameters associated with unobserved behavior aspects of individuals: the valuation of employer-sponsored health insurance, the preference of individuals for migration in the developing countries, and the presence of explicit prejudice against obese individuals.

“In this project, I generalize an equilibrium search framework by allowing workers to make medical treatment decisions and firms to make employer-sponsored health insurance (ESHI) provision decisions in the presence of acute illnesses. I quantify the importance of acute illness costs, such as deteriorated productivity, increased medical expenses, fewer job opportunities, and reduced utilities. ESHI serves to enhance productivity by directly or indirectly reducing such costs. The equilibrium proportion of the firms offering health insurance is a function of labor market frictions, match-specific productivity, and endogenous illness conditions. I estimate the model using the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS). I find that a relatively large portion (3%) of productivity is lost due to illness, and ESHI effectively reduces illness costs. In my counterfactual experiments, I study the impacts of mandatory health insurance and subsidies on illness costs, labor market outcomes, and welfare. More ESHI coverage rates can reduce illness costs and improve some labor market outcomes, but there is a redistribution of welfare from firms to workers.”

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