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Visiting Scholar: Ben Handel

Thursday, March 28
11:00 AM - 11:50 AM


Dr. Benjamin Handel is an associate professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley, whose work is primarily concerned with the economic analysis of health insurance markets and the economic analysis of provider productivity. He has studied the role of adverse selection, the nature of competition between insurance providers, and the role of behavioral economics in explaining insurance plan choice. Additionally, he has researched incentive design and adoption of information technology by healthcare providers, provider fatigue, and behavioral interventions to improve consumer health care behaviors. Dr Handel has taught at UC Berkeley since 2010. He is also a co-director of the Gilbert Center for industrial organization research at Berkeley, a co-director of the National Bureau of Economic Research Insurance Working Group and a co-director of the UC Berkeley Opportunity Lab. He received his A.B. degree in economics from Princeton (2004) and earned his Ph.D. from Northwestern University (2010).
Dr. Handel's 2015 Econometrica research paper with Igal Hendel and Michael Whinston on “Equilibria in Health Exchanges” was awarded the Econometric Society’s Frisch Medal. He also received the NIHCM Foundation Research Award for best health economics research paper in 2018 and is the 2018 recipient of the ASHEcon Medal for top health economist under the age of 40. Dr. Handel is also a recipient of an NSF CAREER Award and a Sloan Research Fellowship.


Student Lecture: 28 March 2024

When Product Markets Become Collective Traps: The Case of Social Media

Individuals might experience negative utility from not consuming a popular product. For example, being inactive on social media can lead to social exclusion. I will shed light on the drivers of consumption spillovers to non-users in the case of social media and show that, in this setting, the “fear of missing out” plays an important role. I also highlight the possibility of product market traps, where large shares of consumers are trapped in an inefficient equilibrium and would prefer the product not to exist.

Faculty Lecture: 29 March 2024

Cognitive Capacity, Fatigue, and Decision Making: Evidence from the Practice of Medicine
We use micro-data on the UCSF Emergency Department to estimate provider fatigue and cognitive loads, and study the impact of those factors on patient care and decision making. We find that both fatigue and cognitive load vary substantially within doctors over time, and that these factors impact key medical treatments and outcomes on several key dimensions.