Meet the Schaeffer Center’s New Faculty: Alice Chen

By Niles Wilson


Alice Chen’s journey into the field of health economics began at Harvard, where she initially pursued a pre-med, applied mathematics major. “I thought I wanted to be a doctor, and I knew I loved math.” However, when none of her pre-med summer internships worked out, a friend suggested that she try her luck as a research assistant for an economics professor. She loved it. From then on, she spent her time applying math to economics, going on to the University of Chicago to earn her master’s and eventually her Ph.D. in the subject. Given her interests, “health economics seemed like a great fit.”


Having grown up in Los Angeles, Chen is happy to leave behind East Coast winters and return to sunny SoCal. Here she is excited to join the Sol Price School of Public Policy as an Assistant Professor and to collaborate with colleagues at the Center. This arrangement allows her to discuss policy issues with like-minded individuals, and use the rich data sources to answer interesting questions. “I chose the Schaeffer Center because of the high quality work that those at Schaeffer and Price are doing,” she noted.


Chen’s work is likewise recognized as high-quality by her peers, including most recently by the American Society of Health Economists, who awarded her the Biennial Student Paper Award for her work entitled “Do the Poor Benefit from More Generous Medicaid Physician Payments?


Now at the Center and looking ahead, Chen is most interested in the interactions between access to care, health outcomes, and labor markets. Within those areas, she wants to continue exploring how physician payments and insurance eligibility affect access to care, how access to care affects utilization and health outcomes, and how health outcomes affect earnings trajectories.