Donald Kenkel
Andrew Dickson White Professor
Policy Analysis and Management
Cornell Institute for Public Affairs

2228 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), the economics of tobacco regulation (Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis 2015), and the market for e-cigarettes (Journal of Health Economics 2019).

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

 DeCicca, Philip, Donald S Kenkel, and Feng Liu (2013). "Who Pays Cigarette Taxes? The Impact of Consumer Price Search." Review of Economics and Statistics. 95 (2): 516-529.

Fletcher, Jason, Donald Kenkel, Catherine Maclean, Joachim Marti, and Michael Richards (2017). "Tobacco Control Policies, Medicaid Coverage, and the Demand for Smoking Cessation Drugs." American Journal of Health Economics. 3(4): 528-549.

Kenkel, Donald, Catherine Maclean, and Asia Sikora (2016). "Cigarette Taxes and Older Adult Smoking: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study."Health Economics. 25 (4): 424-438.

Pesko, Michael F, Donald S Kenkel, Hua Wang, and Jenna M Hughes (2016). "The Effect of Potential Electronic Nicotine Delivery System Regulations on Nicotine Product Selection." Addiction. 111 (4): 734-744.

Kenkel, Don, Alan Mathios, and Hua Wang (2018). “Advertising and Health: A Case Study of Menthol Cigarette Advertising and Cigarette Demand.” American Journal of Health Economics 4 (3): 263-286.

DeCicca, Phil, Donald S Kenkel, and Feng Liu (2015). "Reservation Prices: An Economic Analysis of CigarettePurchases on Indian Reservations." National Tax Journal 68 (1): 154 - 186.

Jin, Lawrence, Don Kenkel, Feng Liu, and Hua Wang (2015). "Retrospective and Prospective Benefit-Cost Analysis of USAnti-Smoking Policies." Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis 6 (1): 154-186.

Kenkel, Donald S, Maximilian D Schmeiser, and Carly Urban (2014). "Is Smoking Inferior? Evidence from Variation in the Earned Income Tax Credit." Journal of Human Resources 49 (4): 1094-1120.

Avery, Rosemary, Kenkel, Donald, Lillard, Dean, and Mathios, Alan. 2007. "Private Profits and Public Health: Does DTC Advertising of Smoking Cessation Products Encourage Smokers to Quit?" Journal of Political Economy 115 (3) 447-481. Also circulated as NBER working paper 11938, January 2006.

Kenkel, Donald S. “Are Alcohol Tax Hikes Fully Passed Through to Prices? Evidence from Alaska.”American Economic Review Papers & Proceedings 95 (2): 273-277.


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, 2019 I have been serving as the Chief 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 leadership and 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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