Health care economist Amy Finkelstein wins the Clark Award

at 04:55 PM ET, 04/27/2012

Chalk up a point for the health-care nerds: M.I.T.’s Amy Finkelstein has won the American Economic Association’s Clark Medal, given every year to the nation’s most promising economist under 40.

The award is a good predictor of future Nobel Prize winners: 12 of Finkelstein’s 34 predecessors have gone on to net that honor, too.

Finkelstein’s work in health care is extensive and varied — everything from research probing how asymmetric information effects insurance purchasing decisions to the long-term impact of public insurance programs such as Medicare.

Most recently, Finkelstein published a landmark study showing that access to Medicaid improved health-care status and increased use of medical services. That may not be a shocking conclusion but, academically, this was a huge get: It was the first randomized trial that could look at differences in a given population where some were given Medicaid coverage and others were not (more from Ezra on how a 2008 change to Oregon’s Medicaid program allowed for such a study.)

Read more on Amy’s health economics work here. Congrats!

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