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Tomas J. Philipson
American economist

Tomas J. Philipson

Tomas J. Philipson
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American economist
Is Economist
From United States of America
Field Finance
Gender male
Birth Sweden
Politics Republican Party
Uppsala University
The details (from wikipedia)


Tomas J. Philipson is a Swedish-born American economist. 

He is a professor of health economics at the University of Chicago with posts in the Harris School of Public Policy Studies, department of economics, and the University of Chicago Law School. Philipson, along with Dana Goldman and Darius Lakdawalla, is a founding partner of Precision Heath Economics, a healthcare consulting firm based in Los Angeles.

He served as the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers in the Donald Trump administration until the end of June 2020, to return to the University of Chicago.

Early life and education

Philipson was born and raised in Sweden where he obtained his undergraduate degree in mathematics at Uppsala University. He received his MA and Ph.D. in economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. 



After finding his higher education, Philipson joined the University of Chicago as a postdoctoral fellow in 1989 and thereafter joined the faculty. He was a visiting faculty member at Yale University in the academic year 1994-95 and a visiting fellow at the World Bank in the winter of 2003.


Philipson has served in several public sector positions. He served in the second the George W. Bush Administration as the senior economic advisor to the head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) during 2003-04 and subsequently as the senior economic advisor to the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in 2004-05. He served as a senior health care advisor to Senator John McCain during his 2008 campaign for President of the United States. 

In December 2010, he was appointed by the Speaker of the US House of Representatives to the Key Indicator Commission created by the recent health care reform.

In August 2017, Philipson was appointed by President Donald Trump to become one of three members of the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA). Philipson played a leading role in the Trump administration's efforts to oppose Medicare for All health care systems, promote Trump's deregulation agenda, and promote the 2017 Republican tax legislation. After Kevin Hassett resigned as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers in June 2019, Philipson was named as acting chairman.

In February 2020, while chair of the Council, Philipson publicly downplayed the public health and economic threats of the coronavirus pandemic, saying, "I don't think corona is as big a threat as people make it out to be." Philipson asserted that public health threats do not usually cause harm to the economy and that the coronavirus would not be as bad as a normal flu season, although a September 2019 study by White House economists projected that a pandemic disease could kill hundreds of thousands of Americans and cause trillions of dollars in damage to the nation's economy.

Upon departure, Philipson praised Trump, saying he had economic instincts "on par with many Nobel economists I have worked with at Chicago."


Philipson is the recipient of numerous international and national research awards. He has twice (in 2000 and 2006) been the recipient of the highest honor of his field: the Kenneth Arrow Award of the International Health Economics Association (for best paper in the field of health economics). In addition, he was awarded the Garfield Award by Research America in 2007 (for best paper in the field of health economics), The Prêmio Haralambos Simeonidisand from the Brazilian Economic Association in 2006 (for best paper in any field), and the Distinguished Economic Research Award from the Milken Institute in 2003 (for best paper in any field of economics).

Philipson has been awarded numerous grants and awards from both public and private agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the John M. Olin Foundation, and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Philipson is a founding editor of the journal Forums for Health Economics & Policy of Berkeley Electronic Press and has been on the editorial board of the journal Health Economics and The European Journal of Health Economics.

His research has been published widely in all leading academic journals of economics such as the American Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Journal of Economic Theory, Journal of Health Economics, Health Affairs, and Econometrica.

Philipson is a fellow, board member, or associate of a number of other organizations outside the University, including the National Bureau of Economic Research, the American Enterprise Institute, the Manhattan Institute (where he is chairman of Project FDA), the Heartland Institute, the Milken Institute, the RAND Corporation, and the USC Shaeffer Center for Health Economics and Policy.

At the University of Chicago, he is affiliated with the John M. Olin Program of Law & Economics, the George J. Stigler Center for the Study of the Economy and the State, the Northwestern/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research, the Population Research Center, and the National Opinion Research Center (NORC). He was a member of the University-wide Council on Research in 2000-02 and is currently a member of the Advisory Committee to the University's Office of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer (UCTech).

Philipson has done an extensive amount of executive consulting in the United States and abroad. He has consulted for both private corporations, including many U.S. Fortune 100 companies, as well as government organizations domestically and internationally. This has included work for the President's Council on Science and Technology, the National Academy of Sciences, and reforming the payment system of the UK National Health Service. It has also included work for multi-lateral organizations such as the World Bank, the World Intellectual Property Organization, and the OECD. He is the co-founder of Precision Health Economics LLC, on the honorary board of directors of the internet-based consulting firm the Round Table Group, on the board of directors of MedErr Inc, on the board of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, on the council of advisors for the Gerson-Lehrman Group, and a consultant for Compass-Lexecon, Bates White, and Analysis Group.

Coverage of Philipson's research has appeared in numerous popular media outlets such as CNN, CBS, FOX News, Bloomberg TV, National Public Radio, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Times Book Review, New York Times Economix, Business Week, The Economist, Washington Post, Investor's Business Daily, and USA Today. He is a frequent keynote speaker at many domestic-and international health care events and conferences.

Select Op-Eds & Editorials By Tomas Philipson:

  • "Demanding Altruism from Drugmakers Won't Improve Health of Poor" Investors Business Daily, March 19, 2012
  • "Cutting Medicare spending can improve health" The Daily Caller, October 20, 2011
  • "A Dangerous Medicare Proposal" Wall Street Journal, July 26, 2011
  • "Should U.S. Import U.K. Model for Medicare and Medicaid?", October 20, 2013
  • "Fat New World," The Wall Street Journal, July 31, 2010. (co-authored with Richard Posner)
  • "Addressing Geographic Variation and Health Care Efficiency," American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, July 2010. (co-authored with Darius Lakdawalla)
  • "Push for more trials may hurt patients," Washington Examiner, San Francisco Examiner, July 21, 2010. (co-authored with Anup Malani)
  • "Quantifying High Cost Of Caution May Speed Drug Approval Process," Investors Business Daily, June 14, 2010
  • "American vs European Solidarity," FOX News, April 24, 2010.
  • "Critical Diagnosis,", February 3, 2010.
  • "The Blue Pill or the Red Pill?", January 14, 2010.
  • "What's wrong with Private Insurance?" Forbes, October 30, 2009.
  • "Borrow from the HIV battle plan to help win the war on cancer," Investors Business Daily, March 16, 2009.
  • "Don't surrender innovation in the name of health care reform," Washington Examiner, March 9, 2009.
  • "FDA and Pre-emption: The Supreme Court Can Improve Patient Access," Washington Times, October 20, 2008.
  • "Prognosis: AMA-Always A Union. Treatment: Preserve Low-Frills Health Care," Chicago Tribune, July 2000. (co-authored with C. Mulligan)
  • "Optimism about AIDS is Premature," Wall Street Journal, February 4, 1998. (co-authored with Richard Posner)
  • "Cancer Care Grand Rounds" (subscription required) Wall Street Journal, April 12, 2012
  • "Obamacare’s ‘one size fits all’ health care guidelines," Washington Times, June 27, 2011
  • "Poll: Should Sick People Be Paid to Risk Their Lives?", June 7, 2011
  • "Therapeutic success stifles medical progress," Nature Magazine, May 24, 2011.
  • "A Good Diet Beats Surgery, Drugs," The Wall Street Journal, August 4, 2010.
  • "Drug Approval Process Slowing As FDA Seeks to Stress Safety," Investors Business Daily, July 14, 2010.
  • "Comparative effectiveness efforts expanding but still raising concerns," American Medical News, July 12, 2010.
  • "FDA is slowing down necessary drugs and treatments," Washington Examiner, June 17, 2010.
  • "End-of-Life Medical Spending Not So Wasteful," Best Life Blog, USNews & World Report, January 20, 2010.
  • "R.O.I. on Cancer Spending: Better Than We Think?" Freakonomics Blog, New York Times, January 6, 2010. (op-ed by Stephen Dubner reviewing Sun, Philipson, et al. "An Economic Evaluation of the War on Cancer")
  • "What economics can teach us about fighting swine flu," Economix Blog, New York Times, April 29, 2009. (op-ed by Casey Mulligan about Philipson and Posner's book Public Health and Private Choices)
  • "Faster FDA Cures," Wall Street Journal, October 12, 2006. (review of work by Ernst R Berndt, Adrian H. B. Gottschalk, Philipson, and Matthew W. Strobeck. "Assessing The Safety and Efficacy of the FDA")
  • "Why Americans Have to be Fat," Washington Post, January 22, 2006. (article by Michael S. Rosenwald)
  • "We're Too Fat, And It's Technology's Fault," Wall Street Journal, February 13, 2003. (column by David Wessel reviewing Philipson and Posner (1999) and related research)
  • "ON THE CONTRARY; Belt-Loosening in the Work Force," New York Times, March 2, 2003.
  • "Pulling Obesity Data Off The McDonald's Wi-Fi," Forbes, July 10, 2003.
  • "Employment and Prosperity cause Body Inflation," New York Times, September 26, 2002. (article by Hal Varian reviewing Lakdawalla and Philipson "The Growth in Obesity and Technological Change: A Theoretical and Empirical Examination")
  • "Fat And Happy In Oak Brook And Beijing," Forbes, September 3, 2002.
  • "Americans Waistlines Have Become The Victims of Economic Progress," New York Times, March 23, 2001. (article by Virginia Postrel reviewing Philipson and Posner, 1999, and Lakdawalla and Philipson, 2001)
  • "Tales of The Dismal Science," Business, January 5, 1999. (article by Peter Coy reviewing Lakdawalla and Philipson "The Rise on Old-Age Longevity and The Market for Long-Term Care")
  • "The Economics of Obesity," Investor's Business Daily, June 23, 1999. (article reviewing Philipson and Posner's "The Long Run Growth of Obesity as a Function of Technological Change")
  • "The Coming Boom in Long Term Care?" Business Week, June 28, 1999. (article by Gene Koretz reviewing Lakdawalla and Philipson "The Rise on Old-Age Longevity and The Market for Long-Term Care")
  • "The Economics of AIDS," New York Times Book Review, March 6, 1994. (article by Supreme Court Justice Stephen Bryer reviewing Private Choices and Public Health)


Philipson is a dual citizen of the United States and Sweden and before leaving Sweden served in its army and played volleyball at the national team level.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 20 Oct 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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