Two Leading Economists Recognized For Calculating U.S. Economic Gains from Medical Research

Monday, October 24, 2005

WASHINGTON—Oct. 24, 2005—University of Chicago Graduate School of Business economics professors Kevin M. Murphy, PhD, and Robert H. Topel, PhD, are the recipients of Research!America's 2005 Eugene Garfield Economic Impact of Medical and Health Research Award. They were chosen for their groundbreaking work assigning economic value to medical research advances and the resulting gains in U.S. life expectancy.

The award recognizes Murphy and Topel's study, "The Economic Value of Medical Research" in Measuring the Gains from Medical Research, An Economic Approach. Calculating a dollar value for gains in longevity due to advances in medical research, they estimate that "improvements in life expectancy alone added approximately $2.6 trillion per year ... to national wealth over the 1970-98 period." They also calculate economic gains linked to conditions such as heart disease, where research has led to fewer deaths in recent decades.

National Research!America opinion polls have found that the public appreciates the economic impact of research. Fully 90% of Americans believe medical and health research is important to the U.S. economy.

"In a time of deficits and potential cuts to federal funding for research, the Garfield award recognizes these esteemed researchers, who have shown from an economic perspective that the United States is getting a substantial return on its investment in medical research," said The Honorable John Edward Porter, chair of Research!America's board of directors.

Eugene Garfield, PhD, the award benefactor and a Research!America board member, is president and founding editor of The Scientist, and creator of the Science Citation Index-a tool used by scientists across many disciplines. He will present the award October 25 in Washington, DC.

About the 2005 Recipients
Kevin Murphy is the George J. Stigler Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. He is the recent recipient of a 2005 MacArthur Foundation "genius grant." His research has focused on demonstrating the economic value of medical research and resulting social improvements in health and longevity.

Robert Topel is the Isidore Brown and Gladys J. Brown Professor in Urban and Labor Economics, also at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. He has held positions ranging from research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research to serving on the Brookings Panel on Economic Activity. His research has included health economics and public policy, and he is the founding editor of the Journal of Labor Economics.

About the Award
The Eugene Garfield Economic Impact of Medical and Health Research Award serves to recognize those whose work illustrates the economic and health impacts derived from medical and health research.

Research!America is the nation's largest not-for-profit, public education and advocacy alliance working to make medical and health research-including research to prevent disease, disability and injury and to promote health-a much higher national priority. Founded in 1989, Research! America is supported by 500 member organizations, who represent the voices of more than 100 million Americans.


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