The Intersection of Health Policy and Research: Insights from Tulane’s Health Policy Working Group

After a year-long hiatus, the Health Policy Working Group resumes for the spring semester featuring guest speaker Jonathan Holmes, Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa. Dr. Holmes will present his research: “The Earnings Incidence of Employer-Provided Health Insurance” which is joint with Kurt Lavetti and Tamar Oostrom.

The Health Policy Program at the Murphy Institute's Center for Public Policy Research is an initiative that brings together an interdisciplinary team of researchers and professionals from both Tulane’s Uptown and Downtown campuses to explore critical healthcare policy issues. This collaboration aims to produce research that informs policy decisions and improves healthcare outcomes.

Dr. Mary Olson, an Associate Professor of Economics at Tulane, spearheads the Health Policy Working Group. Her expertise spans health economics, the political economy of health policy, regulation, and the study of bureaucracy. Notably, she is an authority on Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation. Professor Olson’s current research focuses on understanding the regulatory and firm-specific determinants of drug safety.

“The Earnings Incidence of Employer-Provided Health Insurance”

Holmes' study provides the first US-based estimates of earnings differentials for health insurance derived from administrative all-payer insurance claims linked to earnings records. By analyzing the effect of employees being added to or dropped from an insurance plan without changing jobs, their research shows an immediate and sustained drop in earnings when an employee becomes the primary beneficiary of a health insurance plan. Workers receive a pay increase when employers stop offering health insurance to their employees. These wage effects cover approximately 30% of the cost of health insurance claims with older workers and those with high predicted health insurance costs having larger compensating wage differentials.

Dr. Holmes will join Tulane’s Department of Economics as a Visiting Assistant Professor next fall.

For more information about the Health Policy Working Group, email or visit the Center for Public Policy Research