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Click here to download a summary of John's research on the economics of obesity in the NBER Reporter (2013).
Click here to download a PowerPoint summary of John's research on the economics of obesity.
John's primary field of research is health economics, with a focus on the economics of obesity. He studies the economic causes of obesity, the economic consequences of obesity, and economic approaches to obesity treatment and prevention. Examples of research projects include: the effects of food advertising on diet and of income on weight; the impact of obesity on labor market outcomes such as wages; the effect of physical education on youths; and the effectiveness of financial rewards for weight loss.
His research has been published in general-interest economics journals (American Economic Review, Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of Economic Perspectives) as well as journals in health economics (Journal of Health Economics, Health Economics), labor economics (Journal of Human Resources, Labour Economics), and public policy (Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Health Affairs).
John serves as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Health Economics and Health Economics, is on the editorial board of the American Journal of Health Economics, and is the former co-editor-in-chief of Economics and Human Biology.
His research has been supported by grants from the following sources: the National Institutes of Health; the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; the Economic Research Initiative on the Uninsured; the IBM Center for the Business of Government; the Merck Foundation Center on Consumers, Pharmaceutical Policy, and Health; the University of Michigan Retirement Research Consortium; the U. S. Department of Agriculture; the Institute for the Social Sciences and the Bronfenbrenner Life Course Center at Cornell University; and J. P. Morgan Private Bank Global Philanthropic Services.
John's research has been widely covered in the media, including stories in the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times, The Economist, Business Week, Forbes, Scientific American, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Cawley, John, Davide Dragone, and Stephanie von Hinke Kessler Scholder. “The Demand for Cigarettes as Derived from the Demand for Weight Control.” Forthcoming, Health Economics.
Cawley, John, Asako S. Moriya, and Kosali Simon. "The Impact of the Macroeconomy on Health Insurance Coverage: Evidence from the Great Recession." Health Economics, 2015, 24(2): 206-223.
Cawley, John. "The Affordable Care Act Permits Greater Financial Rewards for Weight Loss: A Good Idea in Principle But Many Practical Concerns Remain." Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 2014, 33(3): 810-820.
Cawley, John. "Incentives for Wellness: Tackling Issues of Effectiveness, Biology, Scope, and Cost Shifting." Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 2014, 33(3): 826-832.
Cawley, John, and Joshua A. Price. “A Case Study of a Workplace Wellness Program That Offers Financial Incentives for Weight Loss.” Journal of Health Economics, 2013, 32(5): 794-803.
Cawley, John, David Frisvold, and Chad Meyerhoefer. “The Impact of Physical Education on Obesity among Elementary School Children.” Journal of Health Economics, 2013, 32(4): 743-755.
Cawley, John, and Johanna Catherine Maclean. “Unfit for Service: The Implications of Rising Obesity for U.S. Military Recruitment.” Health Economics, 2012, 21(11): 1348-1366.
Cawley, John and Chad Meyerhoefer. "The Medical Care Costs of Obesity: An Instrumental Variables Approach." Journal of Health Economics, 2012, 31(1): 219-230.
Cawley, John, and Christopher J. Ruhm. “The Economics of Risky Health Behaviors.” Chapter 3 in: Thomas G. McGuire, Mark V. Pauly, and Pedro Pita Barros (editors), Handbook of Health Economics, Volume 2. (Elsevier: New York). pp. 95-199. 2012.
Cawley, John, Euna Han, and Edward C. Norton. "The Validity of Genes Related to Neurotransmitters as Instrumental Variables." Health Economics, 2011, 20(8): 884-888.
Cawley, John (editor). The Oxford Handbook of the Social Science of Obesity, (Oxford University Press: New York, NY). 2011.
Cawley, John, John Moran, and Kosali Simon. "The Impact of Income on the Weight of Elderly Americans." Health Economics, 2010, 19(8): 979-993.
Coles, Peter, John Cawley, Phillip B. Levine, Muriel Niederle, Alvin E. Roth, and John J. Siegfried. "The Job Market for New Economists: A Market Design Perspective." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 2010, 24(4): 187-206.
Burkhauser, Richard V., and John Cawley. "Beyond BMI: The Value of More Accurate Measures of Fatness and Obesity in Social Science Research." Journal of Health Economics, 2008, 27(2): 519-529.
Morrisey, Michael A., and John Cawley. "U.S. Health Economists: Who We Are and What We Do." Health Economics, 2008, 17(4): 535-543.
Cawley, John, Chad Meyerhoefer, and David Newhouse. "The Impact of State Physical Education Requirements on Youth Physical Activity and Overweight." Health Economics, 2007, 16(12): 1287-1301.
Cawley, John, and Michael A. Morrisey. "The Earnings of U.S. Health Economists." Journal of Health Economics, 2007, 26(2): 358-372.
Cawley, John, David Grabowski, and Richard Hirth. "Factor Substitution in Nursing Homes." Journal of Health Economics, 2006, 25(2): 234-247.
Cawley, John, Michael Chernew, and Catherine McLaughlin. "HMO Participation in Medicare Managed Care." Journal of Economics and Management Strategy, 2005, 14(3): 543-574.
Cawley, John, and Sheldon Danziger. "Morbid Obesity and the Transition From Welfare to Work." Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 2005, 24(4): 727-743.
Cawley, John, and Kosali I. Simon. "Health Insurance Coverage and the Macroeconomy." Journal of Health Economics, 2005, 24(2): 299-315.
Cawley, John. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages." Journal of Human Resources, 2004, 39(2): 451-474.
Cawley, John, Sara Markowitz, and John Tauras. "Lighting Up and Slimming Down: The Effects of Body Weight and Cigarette Prices on Adolescent Smoking Initiation." Journal of Health Economics, 2004, 23(2): 293-311.