Joan K. and Irwin M. Jacobs Professor
Policy Analysis and Management
Cornell Institute for Public Affairs

2310 Martha Van Rensselaer Hall



Donald Kenkel's expertise is in areas of health economics and public sector economics. Broadly speaking, most of his research is on the economics of disease prevention and health promotion.  He is the author of the chapter on "Prevention" in the Handbook of Health Economics (2000).  He has conducted a series of studies on the economics of public health policies, including: alcohol taxes and other policies to prevent alcohol problems (Journal of Applied Econometrics 2001, American Economic Review Papers & Proceedings 2005); cigarette taxes to prevent youth smoking (Journal of Political Economy 2002, Journal of Health Economics 2008); and advertising to promote smoking cessation (Journal of Political Economy 2007). His current research is on the economics of cigarette sales on Indian reservations (National Tax Journal 2015) and the economics of tobacco regulation (Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis 2015).

Donald Kenkel's current research includes empirical studies of tobacco product regulations, cost-benefit analysis of tobacco regulations, and empirical studies of tobacco taxation.

DeCicca, P, D.S. Kenkel, and and A. Mathios (2002). "Putting Out the Fires: Will Higher Taxes Reduce the Onset of Youth Smoking?"Journal of Political Economy. 110 (1): 144-169.

Kenkel, D.S. (2005). "Are Alcohol Tax Hikes Fully Passed Through to Prices? Evidence from Alaska." American Economic Review Papers & Proceedings 95 (2): 273-277. [Link to paper info]

Avery, R.J., D.S. Kenkel, D.Lillard, and A. Mathios (2007). “Private Profits and Public Health: Does Advertising Smoking Cessation Products Encourage Smokers to Quit?” Journal of Political Economy 115 (3): 447-481.

DeCicca, P., D.S. Kenkel, and A. Mathios. (2008). "Cigarette Taxes and the Transition from Youth to Adult Smoking: Smoking Initiation, Cessation, and Participation." Journal of Health Economics 27 (4): 904-917.

DeCicca, P, D.S. Kenkel, and F. Liu (2013). "Who Pays Cigarette Taxes? The Impact of Consumer Price Search." Review of Economics and Statistics 95 (2): 516 - 519.

Jin, L., D. Kenkel, F. Liu, and H. Wang (2015). “Retrospective and Prospective Benefit-Cost Analyses of U.S. Anti-Smoking Policies.” Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis6 (1): 154 – 186

Donald Kenkel has been a member of the department since 1995. Since 2011, he is  jointly appointed as a Professor, Department of Economics.   He is also a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

From July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019 I am serving as a Senior Economist at the Council of Economic Advisers in the Executive Office of the President. The CEA is charged with offering the President objective economic advice. The CEA bases its recommendations and analysis on economic research and empirical evidence, using the best data available to support the President in setting our nation's economic policy. I contribute to the daily work of the CEA and to its publications including the Economic Report of the President.

I enjoy teaching students how to apply economic reasoning to public health and other public policy problems. Perhaps the most basic insight from economics is that "there's no such thing as a free lunch." My courses in cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analysis develop the tools economists use to determine if societal resources are in their most highly valued use.

PAM 3300/ 5300 - Cost-Benefit Analysis
PAM 3870/ 5870 Economic Evaluations of Health

Ph.D. 1987 - University of Chicago
Economics M.A. 1983 - University of Chicago
Economics B.A. 1981 - University of Kentucky, Economics and Mathematics

Co-Director, Institute on Health Economics, Health Behaviors and Disparities, Cornell Population Center

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