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The Carnegie Corporation has given Harvard $150,000 "to develop leadership in the economics of health care." The grant will provide fellowships for eight doctorate candidates in Economics during the writing of their dissertations.
"Health care has become a major national economic problem, with the public sector picking up an ever larger slice of the cost," Martin S. Feldstein, associate professor of Economics and administrator of the grant, said yesterday. "Twentyfive per cent of the American people get inadequate health care despite the seven per cent of total income that goes for medical services," Feldstein said.
Hospital costs are rising at a rate of 15 per cent a year, Feldstein said, and "Where the money is going is not at all clear."
Feldstein said that the economics of medicine has been largely neglected by educators. Harvard, he said, is "unusually strong" with several experts in the field, such as John T. Dunlop, David A. Wells Professor of Political Economy, and Rashi Fein, professor of the Economics of Medicine at the School of Public Health.
The purpose of the grant, Feldstein said, was to encourage graduate students in economics to choose public health as a field of study. Only five or six students in the past five years, he said, have chosen health care as their economics doctoral topics.
The grant will support four students beginning next fall and four more in 1970 in the first year of their writing dissertations.
Right now, there are two economics grad students studying public health. One is investigating alternative incentive schemes to increase efficiency in hospitals. The other is studying why men apply to medical school and why they pick a particular geographical area in which to practice.
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