Ben Handel is an expert on healthcare economics and industrial organization. Professor Handel focuses on consumer choice, decision-making, and market structure in the healthcare and health insurance industries. He has evaluated issues related to adverse selection, competition between insurance providers, provider productivity, and the role of behavioral economics in explaining insurance plan choice.
Professor Handel has extensive experience analyzing big data related to healthcare claims. In United States et al. v. UnitedHealth Group Incorporated et al., he demonstrated how a variety of analytical techniques from basic (summary statistics, simple regression) to advanced (machine learning, artificial intelligence) could be used to derive important insights. Professor Handel has provided expert testimony in deposition and at trial.
In his recent research involving health insurance markets, Professor Handel has examined how consumer choice frictions, such as inertia and limited information, can affect the welfare outcomes of different regulatory policies. In studying topics related to healthcare providers, he has assessed incentive design, information technology adoption, provider fatigue, and interventions to improve consumer healthcare behaviors.
Professor Handel is a recipient of the ASHEcon Medal, which the American Society of Health Economists awards every two years to the economist age 40 and under who has made the most significant contributions to the field of health economics. The Econometric Society honored him with the Frisch Medal. In 2015, he received an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship in economics, in recognition of distinguished performance and unique potential to contribute to his field. He is also the recipient of a five-year NSF CAREER award for research into the determinants of health provider productivity.
Professor Handel has published articles in leading academic journals, including the American Economic Review, Econometrica, the Quarterly Journal of Economics, the Review of Industrial Organization, and Marketing Science. He edits the Review of Economics and Statistics and serves as associate editor for the Journal of Political Economy and the RAND Journal of Economics. Mainstream media such as CBS Moneyline, Forbes, the New Yorker, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal have covered his research.
Professor Handel codirects the Gilbert Center at the University of California, Berkeley, which fosters research related to the economics of industrial organization and healthcare markets. In addition, he codirects the Insurance Working Group at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), where he serves as a research associate for industrial organization, healthcare, and public economics.
At Berkeley, Professor Handel has taught courses in health economics and industrial organization for over a decade. He has received awards for distinguished teaching and university service.