Zack Cooper is an Assistant Professor of Health Policy and of Economics at Yale University and is a Resident Fellow at the school’s Institution for Social and Policy Studies (ISPS). Professor Cooper’s work is focused on examining the intersection of public policy, health care and economics.

Professor Cooper received his undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago and his PhD from the London School of Economics, where he remains a Faculty Associate at the school’s Centre for Economic Performance.

Cooper’s academic work focuses on three areas of health economics. The first is examining how competition impacts heath care providers’ quality and productivity. The second is looking at pricing dynamics in the hospital industry and the extent that rising prices explain rising overall health spending. The third is studying the factors that explain productivity differences across hospitals. During his tenure in England, Professor Cooper has carried out extensive research looking at the impact of hospital competition in the English National Health Service. This work was reported on the front-page of the Telegraph and the Financial Times, mentioned in the Economist and the Guardian and cited in speeches by the Prime Minister of the UK. Now based in the US, the bulk of Cooper’s work is using American insurance claims data from three large commercial insurers to examine key trends in hospital pricing.

Professor Cooper teaches a core class – HPM 560: Heath Economics & US Health Policy – in Yale’s Department of Health Policy and Management.

Outside of his academic work, Zack has served as an adviser and written speeches for a number of policy-makers and politicians and is a regularly contributor to the popular press.

Latest Research

Does Hospital Competition Save Lives? Evidence From the Patient Choice Reforms in the English NHS

Read about it in The Economic Journal

Adam Smith said, “Monopoly. . . is a great enemy to good management”. When it comes to health care policy, the question is whether that holds true in the hospital sector. To test that question, Professor Cooper carried out research looking at the impact of a nation-wide push to introduce hospital competition into the English National Health Service.

In 2006, the Blair Government began allowing patents across England to select where they would receive elective hospital care. He was able to look before and after the introduction of choice and examine whether or not hospitals located in areas where patients had extensive choice performed better after patients were allowed to choose where they received care. In short, they examined whether hospitals facing greater competition from 2006 onwards improved their performance.

It turned out they did. Hospitals exposed to greater competition reduced their death rates and shortened their length of stay after the reforms took force. Indeed, the magnitude of the effects weren’t small. Adding a hospital to the average market led to a relative reduction in AMI mortality of approximately 8%.