Kosali Simon received her B.A. in Economics and German from Hamilton College in 1994, her M.A. and Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Maryland at College Park in 1998 and 1999 respectively. She has held previous appointments at Michigan State University and Cornell University, with tenure, before joining Indiana University’s O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs as Professor in 2010. Simon has held the Herman B Wells Endowed Professorship since 2016 and has served as the Associate Vice Provost for Health Sciences since 2019.
Simon’s research has touched on a broad array of topics aligned with health policy and/or equity. Her work on the causal impact of U.S. health insurance policy on health, healthcare, and labor demographic outcomes has set the gold standard for analyzing the impact of public policy on health care and the Obama Administration cited and referenced Simon’s work in the formulation of the Affordable Care Act. Simon also studied the ACA and its impacts, including findings that showed improvement in the self-reported health among the newly-insured population, along with greater utilization of some types of preventative care. This work provided clear evidence that the law helped increase preventative care by Americans. Her research on the economics of the consequences and causes of the U.S. opioid epidemic provides critical analysis linking policies enabling pharmaceutical companies to provide financial compensation to medical professionals that ultimately results in higher opioid use.
Her most recent research has focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, which has confirmed greater disease burden from COVID-19 for low-income households and people of color, as well as the estimates of the significant number of lives saved in the U.S. from vaccination against COVID-19. Other research on the pandemic analyzed early-pandemic drop in labor market activity. “Determinants of Disparities in COVID-19 Job Losses” was one of the first studies to use geolocation data from smart devices to measure the mobility of individuals before and after the onset of the pandemic and analyzed how local policies affected mobility. The study found, surprising many, that state stay-at-home mandates had only modest effects in reducing mobility and increasing social distancing while state emergency declarations and local school closures had profound effects. Simon herself is regarded as the broadest economist alive today - leading governments, scientists, policy-makers, and academics to want her advice and counsel.
Simon has published 115 scholarly papers and has been cited almost 6,850 times and holds an h-index of 42. She currently serves as Primary Investigator or MPI on two NIH-grant funded research projects. Simon is a current member of the U.S. Congressional Budget Office Panel on Health Advisors, Executive Board of the (nonprofit) Health Care Cost Institute, Indiana Pandemic Information Collaborative, Editor of the Journal of Health Economics, Co-Editor of the Journal of Human Resources, and Vice President of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management. She was a Campbell Visiting Fellow at Stanford University in 2020. Simon is the recipient of the John D. Thompson Prize for Young Investigators (Association of University Programs in Health Administration), Musgrave Prize (National Tax Association), Addington Prize in Measurement (Frasier Institute), and a two-time winner of the IU Trustees’ Award for Teaching. Simon was named a fellow of the National Academy of Medicine in 2021 for her “scholarly insights on how economic and social factors interact with government regulations to affect health care delivery and population health.”