Wesley “Wes” Yin is an Associate Professor of Economics at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, and the Anderson School of Management. He is also a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and a Faculty Affiliate at the Jameel Poverty Action Lab at MIT. He is currently serving as Vice Chair of the Department of Public Policy at the Luskin School.
Yin’s research focuses on health care, consumer finance and protections, and economic inequality. His recent work analyzes the prevalence of medical debt and its impact on disparities, well-being and financial health; as well as the consequences of health care pricing reforms, insurance marketplace design, and rising industry market power.
His work has been published in leading economics and policy outlets such as the Quarterly Journal of Economics, the American Economic Review, the Review of Economics and Statistics, JAMA and the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution, and has been featured in or he has written for media outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, New Yorker, Vox, and others.
From 2012 to 2014, Yin served in the Obama Administration as Acting Chief Economist and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Microeconomic Policy at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and as a Senior Economist in the White House Council of Economic Advisers, where he advanced policies aimed at reducing student debt burden, improving affordability and quality of health care, and improving housing market stability and low-income home-ownership. Since 2014, Yin has advised the state of California on health care reforms, including the design of the recent expansion of state premium subsidies for marketplace insurance.
Previously, he was an assistant professor at the University of Chicago and Boston University, and a Robert Wood Johnson Scholar in Health Policy at Harvard University. He received his PhD in economics from Princeton University.
Medical Debt in the United States, 2009-2020 (with Ray Kluender, Neale Mahoney and Francis Wong) the Journal of the American Medical Association July 20, 2021 Vol 326(3). Media Coverage: NY Times, Washington Post, Vox, Marketwatch, CBS Evening News, Marketplace. JAMA editorial.
The Role of Behavioral Frictions in Health Insurance Marketplace Enrollment and Risk: Evidence from a Field Experiment (with Richard Domurat and Isaac Menashe) American Economic Review, May 2021, Vol. 111(5) [Online Appendix] Media Coverage: Tradeoffs Podcast
The Market for High-Quality Medicine: Retail Chain Entry and Drug Quality in India (with Daniel Bennett) Review of Economics and Statistics, March 2019, Volume 101(1) p.76-90 [Appendix]
Insurers’ Negotiating Leverage and the External Effect of Medicare Part D (with Darius Lakdawalla), Review of Economics and Statistics, 97:2 p.314-331 May 2015 (an earlier version appears as NBER working paper no. 16251). Media coverage: New Yorker
R&D Policy, Agency Costs and Innovation in Personalized Medicine, Journal of Health Economics, September 2009, 28(5), pp. 950-962
Market Incentives and Pharmaceutical Innovation, Journal of Health Economics, July 2008, 27(4), pp. 1060-1077
Female Empowerment: Impact of a Commitment Savings Product in the Philippines (with Nava Ashraf and Dean Karlan) World Development, 2010, 38(3), pages 333-344
The Effect of the Medicare Part D Prescription Benefit on Drug Utilization and Expenditures (with Anirban Basu, James Zhang, Atonu Rabbani, David Meltzer, Caleb Alexander) Annals of Internal Medicine, Lead article, February 2008, 148:3 pp. 169-177. Annals’ Summary for Patients.
Designing Targeting Schemes with Poverty Maps: Does Disaggregation Help? (with Berk Özler, Chris Elbers, Tomoki Fujii, Peter Lanjouw), Journal of Development Economics, May 2007, 83(1)
Tying Odysseus to the Mast: Evidence from a Commitment Savings Product in the Philippines (with Nava Ashraf and Dean Karlan) Quarterly Journal of Economics, May 2006, 121(2). Winner of TIAA-CREF 2006 Certificate of Excellence
Deposit Collectors (with Nava Ashraf and Dean Karlan), Advances in Economic Analysis & Policy, March 2006, 6(2), Article 5
Provider Market Power and Adverse Selection in Health Insurance Markets (with Nicholas Tilipman)
The Impact of Financial Assistance Programs on Health Care Utilization (with Ray Kluender, Neale Mahoney and Francis Wong). NBER Working Paper No. 29227. Submitted.
The Burden of Medical Debt and the Impact of Debt Forgiveness (with Ray Kluender, Neale Mahoney and Francis Wong). J-PAL Summary. AEA Pre-registration 1 (Old Debt). AEA Pre-registration 2 (Young Debt).
Personalized Telephone Outreach Increased Health Insurance Take-Up for Hard-to Reach Populations: A Field Experiment (w/ Rebecca Myerson, Nicholas Tilipman, Andrew Fehrer, Honglin Li, and Isaac Menashe) Under revision at Health Affairs
The Clinical and Economic Consequences of Reimbursement Reforms in Health Care (with Amanda Starc and Darius Lakdawalla)
Other Publications and Policy Articles
“Options To Improve Affordability In California’s Individual Health Insurance Market,” (with Peter Lee, Katie Ravel and Nicholas Tilipman), a Covered California report for Gov. Newsom, California State Senate and State Assembly pursuant to AB1810, February, 2019
“How retail drug markets in poor countries develop” (with Dan Bennett) VoxDev.org, August, 13th, 2018.
“Potential Impacts of Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson on Californians and the Individual Health Insurance Market” (with John Bertko) Covered California Report, September 25, 2017
“Evaluating the Potential Consequences of Terminating Direct Federal Cost-Sharing Reduction (CSR) Funding” (with Richard Domurat) Covered California Report, January 26, 2017 [Appendix]
“Trump’s “populist” economic proposals come with massive catches. Here’s what to watch for.” Vox, November 18, 2016
Strengthening Risk Protection through Private Long-Term Care Insurance. Brookings Institution, Hamilton Project Discussion Paper 2015-06, June 2015. Policy Brief.
Value of Survival Gains in Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (with John Penrod, J. Ross Maclean, Darius Lakdawalla and Tomas Philipson) American Journal of Managed Care 2012 Nov;18(11 Suppl):S257-64
The impact of Medicare Part D on Medicare-Medicaid Dual-eligible Beneficiaries’ Prescription Utilization and Expenditures (with Caleb Alexander and Anirban Basu), Health Services Research, February 2010, 45(1), pp. 133-151
Valuing health technologies at NICE: Recommendations for Improved Incorporation of Treatment Value in HTA (with Dana Goldman, Darius Lakdawalla and Tomas Philipson) Health Economics October 2010, 10(11) pp. 1109-1116
Solutions and Challenges to Curing Global Health Inequality Innovations 2(4), October 2007, 2(4), pp. 72-80
Testing Savings Product Innovations Using an Experimental Methodology (with Nava Ashraf and Dean Karlan), Asian Development Bank, Economics and Research Department Technical Paper No. 8. November, 2003
A Review of Commitment Savings Products in Developing Countries (with Nava Ashraf, Nathalie Gons, Dean Karlan) ERD Working Paper, July 2003.
Public Finance and the Economics of Inequality (Econ 415)
Health Care Finance and Management (MBA and MPP elective) (MGMT298 & PP290)
Econometrics for Policy Analysis (MPP Core) (PP208)
Applied Policy Project (APP) Capstone Advisor (PP298A-D)