Deaths of Despair and the American Healthcare System

In their book, Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism, Nobel Laureate Angus Deaton and Professor Anne Case document the devastating epidemic that preceded COVID-19, taking the lives of 158,000 Americans in 2018 and contributing to the first three-year drop in U.S. life expectancy since the Spanish flu. Deaths of despair primarily strike those without a college degree whose loss of a way of life has led them to suicide, alcoholism, drug overdose, and finally premature death. Today’s pandemic – which disproportionately has impacted African Americans and Hispanics – has further exacerbated these deaths of despair as those without a college degree are less likely to be able to continue their work and pay remotely, while those who are able to continue to work typically fill essential jobs that often put them at great risk of COVID-19 infection. Join moderator Dana Goldman in a discussion with Professors Case and Deaton on this phenomenon and the public policies to address it.

Event Date
Tuesday, July 07, 2020
1:00 PM - 1:45 PM Pacific


Participant Bios:

Angus Deaton, PhD
Distinguished Fellow, USC Schaeffer Center
Presidential Professor of Economics, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
Senior Scholar, School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University

Professor Sir Angus Deaton is a Presidential Professor of Economics at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and a Distinguished Fellow at the USC Schaeffer Center. He is also a Senior Scholar and the Dwight D. Eisenhower Professor of Economics and International Affairs Emeritus at the Public and International Affairs and the Economics Department at Princeton University. His main current research areas are in poverty, inequality, health, wellbeing, economic development, and randomized controlled trials.

He holds both American and British citizenship. In Britain, he taught at Cambridge University and the University of Bristol. He is a corresponding Fellow of the British Academy, an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a Fellow of the Econometric Society and, in 1978, was the first recipient of the Society's Frisch Medal. He was President of the American Economic Association in 2009. In 2012, he was awarded the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award. In April 2014, he was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society. He was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences on April 28, 2015. He was the recipient of the 2015 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. In 2016, he was made a Knight Bachelor for his services to economics and international affairs.

His current research focuses on the determinants of health in rich and poor countries, as well as on the measurement of poverty and inequality in the US, India and around the world. He also maintains a long-standing interest in the analysis of household surveys. He is also interested in what randomized controlled trials can and cannot do.

Anne Case, PhD
Alexander Stewart 1886 Professor of Economics and Public Affairs, Emeritus, Princeton University

Anne Case is the Alexander Stewart 1886 Professor of Economics and Public Affairs, Emeritus at Princeton University, where she is the Director of the Research Program in Development Studies. Dr. Case has written extensively on health over the life course. She has been awarded the Kenneth J. Arrow Prize in Health Economics from the International Health Economics Association, for her work on the links between economic status and health status in childhood, and the Cozzarelli Prize from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences for her research on midlife morbidity and mortality. Dr. Case is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences. She currently serves on the President's Committee on National Statistics. She is a Research Associate of the NBER, a Fellow of the Econometric Society, and is an affiliate of the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit at the University of Cape Town. She also is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. PhD Princeton.

Dana Goldman, PhD
Leonard D. Schaeffer Director's Chair, USC Schaeffer Center
Interim Dean, USC Price School of Public Policy
Distinguished Professor of Public Policy, Pharmacy & Economics, USC School of Pharmacy and the USC Price School of Public Policy

Dana Goldman, PhD, is the Leonard D. Schaeffer Chair and a Distinguished Professor of Pharmacy, Public Policy, and Economics at the University of Southern California. He also directs the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, a research hub for one of the nation’s premier health policy and management programs in the Sol Price School of Public Policy and School of Pharmacy.

Goldman is the author of approximately 250 articles and book chapters in medicine, health policy, economics, and statistics. He has served—or is serving—as a health policy advisor to the Congressional Budget Office, Covered California (the California insurance exchange), and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Institute’s Outcomes Research External Advisory Board. He is a founding editor of the Forum for Health Economics and Policy, and serves on several editorial boards including Health Affairs and the American Journal of Managed Care. He is a former director of the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research and the American Society of Health Economists. Goldman's work has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The Washington Post, Business Week, U.S. News and World Report, The Economist, NBC Nightly News, CNN, National Public Radio, and other media.

Goldman is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Social Insurance. In 2016, he was appointed a Distinguished Professor at the University of Southern California in honor of accomplishments that have brought the University special renown. He is a past recipient of the MetLife Foundation Silver Scholar Award, honoring his research to define the value of healthy aging and medical innovations to help individuals live healthier and longer lives; the Eugene Garfield Economic Impact Prize, recognizing outstanding research demonstrating how medical research impacts the economy; the National Institute for Health Care Management Research Foundation award for excellence in health policy; and the Alice S. Hersh New Investigator Award recognizing contributions of a young scholar to health services research.

Goldman is also an Adjunct Professor of Health Services at UCLA and a research associate with the National Bureau of Economic Research. He was a co-founder of Precision Health Economics, a consultancy that provides services to health insurance, pharmaceutical, biological and health care technology companies, and he currently serves as a consultant to the firm. He serves on a scientific advisory board to ACADIA Pharmaceuticals. Prior to arriving at USC, he spent 15 years at the RAND Corporation, where he held the Distinguished Chair in Health Economics and served as director of RAND's program in Health Economics, Finance, and Organization and the Bing Center for Health Economics.

Goldman received his BA summa cum laude from Cornell University and a PhD in Economics from Stanford University.