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Matthew Knepper, a 2009 UNC graduate with a degree in Economics, has been named one of the “Top 30 Thinkers under 30 (Years of Age)” by the Pacific Standard Magazine.Matt_Knepper_2015

Knepper is currently a graduate student in Economics at the University of California at San Diego.  He is working on the economics of health care policy, producing research that his peers call “really innovative and important.”

“A good economist,” he says, “is able to identify real-world problems and to then recognize how to go about studying them with the goal of eliminating them.”

Given that, Knepper’s quite concerned that though the United States outspends the world’s second most expensive health care system by more than 50 percent per capita, the World Health Organization ranks us at only 37th, right between Costa Rica and Slovenia.

“In no other sector are we culpable of such inefficiency,” Knepper says. “My overall body of work is motivated by the puzzle of how the U.S. health care system continues to reap so little return on its investment.”

His Ph.D. research has addressed this inefficiency through a number of specific studies.  He has found, for example, that a state’s decision not to extend Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act has led to higher deductibles on insurance policies in those states.  He’s also investigated the impact in Chicago on emergency-room admittance and violent-crime rates of closing mental health facilities.

Knepper was a William R. Davie Scholar during his years at Carolina.  He graduated from UNC Phi Beta Kappa, and in 2009 received the Chancellor’s Award for Undergraduate Excellence in Economics.  You’ll find the Pacific Standard report on Knepper at this link.  The quotes above are taken from that report.

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