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UC Berkeley Press Release

UC Berkeley health economist starts term as senior adviser on presidential council

– William H. Dow, associate professor of health economics in the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley, will begin a one-year stint in Washington, D.C., serving as a senior health economist advising members of President Bush's Council of Economic Advisors (CEA).

William H. Dow
William H. Dow (Peg Skorpinski photo)

Dow, 37, will be one of nine senior staff economists advising the three-member council on specific sectors of the economy. During his term, which begins Monday, Aug. 15, he will be on leave from his position at UC Berkeley.

The CEA was established by the Employment Act of 1946 to provide the president with objective economic analysis and advice on the development and implementation of a wide range of domestic and international economic policy issues.

"Serving at the CEA is a tremendous opportunity to observe and participate in the policy-making process," said Dow. "The CEA plays a unique role in the internal White House policy process given that it is staffed by academics and, as such, its role has historically been to provide objective economic analysis. That advice is not always welcomed, particularly when it conflicts with political interests. Working on health care will be particularly exciting in light of the magnitude of the challenges this nation faces, such as soaring health care costs and high rates of uninsured."

Dow is one of many UC Berkeley faculty members who have been appointed to senior economic posts in a presidential administration. Both Laura Tyson, former dean of UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business, and Janet Yellen, a professor on leave from UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business to serve as president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, have held positions as chair of the CEA.

In addition, Jay Stowsky, associate dean for school affairs and initiatives at the Haas School; Jeffrey Frankel, a former UC Berkeley economics professor; and David Levine, professor at the Haas School, all served terms at the CEA.

Dow's background is in health policy, both domestic and international, particularly as it relates to health insurance. He received the 2001 John D. Thompson Prize for Young Investigators, awarded by the Association of University Programs in Health Administration. He also won the 8th Annual Kenneth J. Arrow Award, given by the International Health Economics Association for the best health economics paper published worldwide in 1999.

He earned his Ph.D. in economics from Yale University. Before coming to UC Berkeley, Dow was an assistant professor of health policy and administration at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow at RAND. He is also a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research.