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Joan Costa-Font

London School of Economics

Joan Costa-Font

I am an academic economist, deeply rooted in social science, specialising in the financing and organisation of health care programs and institutions, and the design of incentives for health-related behaviours. I have written and edited several textbooks for major publishers (CUP) in the last few years. I currently work as a professor of health economics at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) where I am a faculty associate of the International Inequalities Institute and I lead the Ageing and Health Incentives Lab (AHIL). I am affiliated with the two major global economics research networks: IZA, and CESifo. I have been a Harkness Fellow at Harvard University, a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the LSE, a policy evaluation fellow at Sciences Po in Paris, and a visiting professor at Boston College, UCL Oxford University, CES Munich, U Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, and Paris Dauphine University. Before joining the LSE in 2007, I was (an associate professor, and then) a professor of applied economics at the University of Barcelona, where I set up the Centre for Economic Analysis and Social Policies and taught microeconomics and health economics. I am a WHO Technical Advisory Group member on Economics for Environment, Climate Change and Health (WHO TAG-EconECH). I have worked as a consultant for the World Bank, the European Commission, the World Health Organisation and the Interamerican Development Bank, as well as served on NIHR research committees, the Brocher Foundation scientific board, and the editorial board of LSE Press. I have served as editor of the journal Applied Economics Perspectives Policy, as associate editor of the Evaluation Review and as book review editor of the behavioural public policy journal. Finally, when time allows I carry out other advisory duties for some NHS Trusts, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics and the Ada Lovelace Institute.


Countries International;
Topics Attitudes and Expectations about Long-Term Care; Care economy; Care inequalities; Economics of LTC; End-of-life care and LTC; Governance and LTC systems organisation; Healthcare access in LTC; Housing and care; LTC and people with mental health conditions; LTC Reforms; LTC Systems; Outcome measurement in LTC; Relationship between LTC use and hospital use; Stigma and discrimination; Unpaid / informal care;
Methods Causal inference in Long-Term Care; Discrete choice analysis;
Role Research;
Interest Groups Economics of Long-Term Care; Quasi-experimental methods;
Research interests

Joan is an economist deep rooted in social science, and his research interests are organised on three broad areas (i) the economics of healthy ageing and caregiving, (ii) behavioural incentives and health behaviours, the (iii) the political economy of health and inequality. He regularly publishes in all the main field journals in health economics (e.g., Journal of Health Economics, American Journal of Health Economics, Health Economics, Social Science and Medicine ), behavioural economics, (e.g., Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Journal of Economic Behaviour and Organisation), political economy (e.g., Public Choice, European Journal of Political Economy), inequality (e.g., Journal of Economic Inequality, Social Justice Research), policy ( e.g., Economic Policy, Food Policy, Health Policy), as well as general audience journals in economics (e.g., European Economic Review, Economica, Journal of the European Economic Association), and interdisciplinary sciences (e.g., PNAS, Journal of the Royal Statistical Society). He has completed numerous book chapters and reports for several international governments and organisations.

Key publications

“Medicaid Expansion and the Mental Health of Spousal Caregivers” (with N, Raut and C, van Houtven). Review of the Economics of the Household, 2023, in press

“The Effect of Public Subsidies on the Wellbeing of Unpaid Carers” (with C. Vilaplana and D’Amico, F). American Journal of Health Economics, 2023, 9(4): 487-522

“Caregiving Across Generations: Do older adults with more grandchildren get another bite at the “sandwich” generation?”  (with Rapp, T, Jena, A.B and D.C. Grabowski). Social Science & Medicine, 2023, 334, 116199.

“Does Caregiving Subsidies Modify Spousal Early Retirement Intentions?” (with C. Vilaplana). Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, 2023, 4: 550 – 589.

“Investing in Aged Care? Long-Term Care Expenditure Dynamics and Health Care Spillovers” (with C. Vilaplana). Empirical Economics, 2023, 64:  1–30

“Biased Survival Expectations and Behaviours: Does Domain Specific Information Matter? (with C. Vilaplana). Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 2022, 65, pages 285–317

“Do Public Caregiving Subsidies and Supports affect the Provision of Care and Transfers?” (with Vilaplana, C and Jimenez, S).  Journal of Health Economics, 2022, 84, 102639

“Mental Health Effects of Caregivers Respite: Subsidies or Supports?” (with Vilaplana, C). Journal of Economics of Ageing, 2022, 22,100398.

“Health Shocks and Housing Downsizing: How persistent is ‘Ageing in Place’?” (with Vilaplana, C). Journal of Economic Behaviour and Organisation, 2022, 204, 490-508.

“More than One Red Herring’? Heterogeneous Ageing Effects on Healthcare Use” (with C. Vilaplana). Health Economics, 2020, 29: 8-29.

“Uninsured by Choice? Evidence from a Choice Experiment on Long Term Care Insurance” (with Frank, R and Akaichi, F). Journal of Economic Behaviour and Organisation, 2020, 173: 422-434.

“Access to Long Term Care after a Wealth Shock: Evidence from the Housing Bubble and Burst” (with Frank, R and Swartz, K). Journal of Economics of Ageing, 2019, 13: 103-110.

“Does Long-Term Care Subsidisation Reduce Hospital Admissions?” (with Jimenez-Martin, S and Vilaplana, C). Journal of Health Economics, 2018, 58(1): 43–66.

“Long-term care partnerships: Are they fit for purpose?” (with Bergquist, S and Swartz K). The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, 2018, 12, 151-158.

“Institutionalisation Aversion and the Willingness to Pay for Home Health Care”. Journal of Housing Economics, 2017, 38: 62-69.

“Does the Expansion of Public Long-Term Care Funding Affect Savings Behaviour?” (with Vilaplana, C). Fiscal Studies, 2017, 38(3): 417-443.

“Careful in the Crisis? Determinants of Older People’s Informal Care Receipt in Crisis-Struck European Countries” (with Karlsson, M and H Øien). Health Economics, 2016, 25(S2): 25-42.

“Financing Long Term Care: Ex-Ante, Ex-Post or Both?” (with Swartz, K and Courbage, C) Health Economics, 2015, 24: S45–S57.

“Crowding Out of Long-Term Care Insurance: Evidence from European Expectations Data” (with Courbage, C). Health Economics, 2015, 24: S74–S88.

“Does Cost Sharing really reduce Inappropriate Prescriptions among the Elderly?” (with M Gemmill-Toyama). Health Policy, 2011, 101 (2): 195-208.

“Family Ties and the Crowding Out of Long-Term Care Insurance”. Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 2010, 26(4): 691-712.

“Ageing, health, and health care” (with Breyer, F and Felder, S). Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 2010, 26(4): 674-90.