Willard Manning, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus

Willard G. Manning is a Professor Emeritus in the Harris School of Public Policy and in the Department of Health Studies in the Division of the Biological Sciences.  Manning’s primary area of interest has been the effects of health insurance. He has studied the demand for various health services under both fee-for-service cost-sharing and prepaid insurance, as well as the impact on the appropriateness of care and health status. He was one of the senior investigators on the RAND Health Insurance Experiment, a randomized trial of alternative insurance plans conducted from 1974-1982.  He has examined the health effects of insuring the formerly uninsured when the near-elderly become Medicare-eligible at age 65.  In recent work, he has examined the optimal insurance coverage for preventive care and treatment, considering the trade-off between the costs from moral hazard and the gains from risk-pooling across medical services and over time in health insurance.

Manning has also examined statistical, measurement, and economic issues in modeling the use of health services and health care expenditures.  Recently he has been developing a robust method for dealing with cost data in the presence of right censoring in time, as well as distinguishing overfitting from misspecification of the model estimated. His past research interests further include the economics of poor health habits, such as smoking and heavy drinking.

Dr. Manning has received the award for best article of the year from the Association for Health Services Research in 1990 for his article on the external costs of smoking and drinking (Manning, et al., JAMA 1989) and in 1993 for two articles from the Medical Outcome Study on differences in costs across medical specialties (Greenfield et al., JAMA 1992; and Kravitz et al, JAMA 1992).  He received the Kenneth Arrow Prize for best health economics article for 2001 for his paper on alternative estimators for health care costs (Manning and Mullahy, Journal of Health Economics, 2001).   In 2009, he received the Distinguished Investigator Award at the annual meeting of Academy Health, the professional society for health services research in the United States.  In 2010, he received the Victor Fuchs Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Health Economists.

Manning is a member of the Institute of Medicine.  He has served on IOM committees addressing the lack of insurance, health care at the end of life.  He is currently serving on a National Academy of Science panel considering adding measures of medical risk to new poverty measures.

He received his BS in 1968 from the California Institute of Technology, MA in 1971 from Stanford University, and PhD in 1973 from Stanford University.

iHEA Minicourse

* Modeling Health Care Costs and Counts (2013) (pdf)

* Programs and Supplemental Materials (2013) (zip)




·        Basu, Anirban, and W.G. Manning, “Estimating Lifetime or Episode-of-illness Costs under Censoring,” Health Economics, 19(9), 1010-1028, 2010.  Erratum in Health Economics, 20(1), 125-126, 2011

·        Polsky, D., J.A. Doshi, J. Escarce, W. Manning, S.M. Paddock, L. Cen, and J. Rogowski,   “The Health Effects of Medicare for the Near-Elderly Uninsured,”  Health Services Research, 44(3), 926-945, 2009.

·         Ellis, R.P., and W.G. Manning. “Optimal Health Insurance for Prevention and Treatment,” Journal of Health Economics, 26(6): 1128-1150, 2007.

·         Simon, G.E., W.J. Katon, et al. “Cost Effectiveness of Systematic Depression Treatment among People with Diabetes,” Archive of General Psychiatry, 64(1): 65-72, 2007.

·         Fleishman, J.A., J.W. Cohen,W.G. Manning, M. Kosinski, ”Using the SF-12 Health Status Measure to Predict Medical Expenditures,” Medical Care, 44(5) (suppl):I-54-I-63, 2006.

·         Manning, W.G., A. Basu, and J. Mullahy, “Generalized Modeling Approaches to Risk Adjustment of Skewed Outcomes Data,” Journal of Health Economics, 24: 465-488, 2005.

·         Basu A, Manning WG and Mullahy J.  Comparing alternative models: Log vs. Cox Proportional Hazard. Health Economics, 13(8):749-765, 2004. Veazie PJ, Manning WG, and Kane RL. Improving risk adjustment for Medicare capitated reimbursement using nonlinear models. Medical Care, 41(6):741-752, 2003.

·         Farrell S, Manning WG, and Finch MD. Alcohol dependence and the price of alcoholic beverages. Journal of Health Economics, 22:117-147, 2003.

·         Meltzer D, Manning WG, Morrison J, Shah MN, Jin L, Guth T, and Levinson W. Effects of physician experience on costs and outcomes on an academic general medicine service: Results of a trial of hospitalists. Annals of Internal Medicine, 137(11):866-874, 2002.

·         DeLeire T and Manning WG. Labor market costs of injury and illness: Prevalence matters. Health Economics, 13(3):239-260, 2004.

·         Keeler TE, Hu TW, Manning WG. State tobacco taxation, education and smoking: The effects of omitted variables. National Tax Journal, 54(1):83-102, 2001.

·         Manning, WG and Mullahy J. Estimating log models: To transform or not to transform? Journal of Health Economics, 20(4):461-494, 2001. Also, National Bureau of Economic Research, Technical Working Papers 246, 1999.

·         Simon GE, Manning WG, et al. Cost-effectiveness of systematic depression treatment among "High Utilizers" of general medical care. Archives of General Psychiatry, 58:181-187, 2001.

·         Manning, WG and Marquis MS. Health insurance: The trade-off between risk pooling and moral hazard. Journal of Health Economics, 15(5):609-639, 1996.

·         Manning, WG, Blumberg L, and Moulton L. The demand for alcohol: The differential response to price. Journal of Health Economics, 14:123-148, 1995.

·         Manning, WG, Keeler EB, et al. The taxes of sin: Do smokers and drinkers pay their way? Journal of the American Medical Association, 261(11):1604-1609, 1989.

·         Manning, WG, Newhouse JP, et al. Health insurance and the demand for medical care: Evidence from a randomized experiment. American Economic Review, 77(3):251-277, 1987.

·         Manning, W.G, A. Leibowitz, G.A. Goldberg,  W.H. Rogers, and J.P. Newhouse,  “A Controlled Trial of the Effect of a Prepaid Group Practice on Use of Services” The New England Journal of Medicine, 310: 1505-1510, 1984.

Working drafts

·         Ellis, R.P., S. Jiang, and W.G. Manning, “Optimal Health Insurance for Multiple Goods and Time Periods” draft, 30 July 2011.

·        Bilger, M., and W.G. Manning, Measuring overfitting and mispecification in nonlinear models: a new method and an application to health expenditures”, Draft. 13 March 2012.


·         Newhouse, J.P., Archibald, R.W., et al., Free-For-All: Health Insurance, Medical Costs, and Health Outcomes: The Results of the Health Insurance Experiment, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1993.

·         Manning, W.G., E.B. Keeler, et al., The Costs of Poor Health Habits, Harvard University Press, 1991.

·         Frank, R. and W.G. Manning (eds.), Economics of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992.

·         Mitchell, B.M., W.G. Manning, and J.P. Acton, Peak-Load Pricing: European Lessons for U.S. Energy Policy, Ballinger, Cambridge, MA, 1978.

·         Owen, B.M., J.H. Beebe, and W.G. Manning, Television Economics, D.C. Heath, Lexington, MA, 1974.