arrow grid linear view icon

You are here

John Cawley


M Van Rensselaer Hall, Room 2312
414 Uris Hall

Educational Background

Ph.D., Economics, University of Chicago, 1999



John Cawley is a Professor in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management, and the Department of Economics, at Cornell University. John is co-Director of Cornell's Institute on Health Economics, Health Behaviors and Disparities, and co-Editor-in-Chief of the journal Economics and Human Biology.

In addition to his affiliation with Cornell, John is a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and a Research Fellow of the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA). He was a member of the Institute of Medicine Committee "Prevention of Obesity in Children and Youth" and has served on advisory boards and expert panels for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other government agencies.

John was awarded the John D. Thompson Prize for Young Investigators by the Association of University Programs in Health Administration in 2005, and is a coauthor of the paper that won the Center for Disease Control's Charles C. Shepard Science Award in Prevention and Control in 2009. In 2006, John was awarded the Kappa Omicron Nu / Human Ecology Alumni Association Award for Excellence in Advising of students at Cornell.

Prior to arriving at Cornell, John was a Robert Wood Johnson Scholar in Health Policy Research at the University of Michigan from 1999-2001. John received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago and his undergraduate degree in economics from Harvard University.


economics, health economics, health policy, public policy, health behaviors, risky behaviors, obesity


  • Economics

Graduate Fields

  • Economics
  • Policy Analysis and Management
  • Public Affairs


John's primary field of research is health economics, with a focus on the economics of obesity. He studies the economic causes of obesity, the economic consequences of obesity, and economic approaches to obesity treatment and prevention. Examples of research projects include: the effects of food advertising on diet and of income on weight; the impact of obesity on labor market outcomes such as wages; the effect of physical education on youths; and the effectiveness of financial rewards for weight loss.

John's research has been published in general-interest economics journals (American Economic Review, Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of Economic Perspectives) as well as journals in health economics (Journal of Health Economics, Health Economics), labor economics (Journal of Human Resources, Labour Economics), public policy (Journal of Policy Analysis and Management) and health policy (Health Affairs, Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law). He serves as co-editor of the journal Economics and Human Biology.

His research has been supported by grants from the following sources: the National Institutes of Health; the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; the Economic Research Initiative on the Uninsured; the IBM Center for the Business of Government; the Merck Foundation Center on Consumers, Pharmaceutical Policy, and Health; the University of Michigan Retirement Research Consortium; the U. S. Department of Agriculture; the Institute for the Social Sciences and the Bronfenbrenner Life Course Center at Cornell University; and J. P. Morgan Private Bank Global Philanthropic Services.

John's research has been featured in stories in the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times, Business Week, Forbes, Scientific American, Chronicle of Higher Education, as well as on radio and television.