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The Invitational Lecture in the Humanities


December 3, 2012

"Health Inequality:
Economics, Ethics and Public Policy" 

Pembroke Hall 305
5:30 - 7:00pm

Health outcomes differ markedly across socioeconomic groups within countries and across countries. What drives these health inequalities, and how should societies respond to them? This talk will review evidence on the magnitude and drivers of health inequalities; consider questions about ethical and economic issues that underpin responses to health inequalities; and highlight the value and potential pitfalls of possible policy responses.

Speaker Christina H. Paxson was sworn in as the nineteenth president of Brown University on Monday, July 2, 2012. At the time of her appointment in March 2012, she was dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of International and Public Affairs and the Hughes Rogers Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at Princeton University.

Initially working on international economic problems of labor supply, mobility, savings, inequality, and aging, Paxson focused increasingly on the relationship of economic factors to health and welfare over the life course, particularly on the health and welfare of children. In 2000, she founded the Center for Health and Wellbeing, an interdisciplinary research center in the Woodrow Wilson School. The center established multidisciplinary graduate and undergraduate certificate programs in health and health policy. She served as the center’s director until 2009.

Paxson also has served as associate chair (2005-08) and chair (2008-09) of the Department of Economics at Princeton and was the founding director of a National Institute on Aging Center for the Economics and Demography of Aging at Princeton. She was elected vice president of the American Economics Association in 2012 and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She has been the principal investigator on a number of research projects supported by the National Institutes of Health, the most recent of which is a study of adversity and resilience after Hurricane Katrina.

As dean of the Woodrow Wilson School, Paxson oversaw significant changes in the undergraduate major in public and international affairs, which included eliminating selective admissions and revamping the curriculum to place greater emphasis on multidisciplinary learning, independent research, and field experience in the United States and internationally. Under her leadership, the Woodrow Wilson School founded the Julis-Rabinowitz Center for Public Policy and Finance and increased opportunities for research and teaching on issues related to domestic and international financial markets.

The Invitational Lecture in the Humanities is an annual event in which a prominent member of the Brown University faculty considers pressing issues in the humanities, issues of importance to scholarship and to the world at large. This occasion gives the university and the community an opportunity to learn from our most distinguished colleagues, many of whom have more regular opportunities to speak off campus than at Brown.