Ph.D. Student Profile

Yubraj  Acharya

Yubraj Acharya, BA, MPA

  • PhD Candidate (2017)
  • Cognate: Economics

Education

  • Dissertation Title: Essays in Health Economics
  • Dissertation Committee: Edward C. Norton (Chair), Richard A. Hirth, Dean Yang and Andrew D. Jones

  • BA, (with Honors) Economics, Swarthmore College (2005)
  • Master's in Public Administration, Syracuse University (2008)

Research Interests & Projects

  • Health economics
  • Program evaluation
  • Health disparities
  • Global Health Policy

I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Health Management and Policy at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. My training is in health economics. I am primarily interested in exploring key barriers faced by individuals, particularly those from marginalized groups, to the uptake of preventive healthcare services, and testing innovative approaches to overcome those barriers using randomized controlled trials (RCTs). For the main chapter of my dissertation, I conducted an RCT in Nepal. The study documents the extent of barriers to seeking care on diabetes that individuals face because of the mismatch in their ethnicity with that of the outreach workers and the barriers that outreach workers face when reaching out to individuals from a different ethnic group from their own. It also examines if differential incentives geared toward encouraging cross-ethnic interactions can help offset the barriers. I find that the barriers due to ethnicity are high. Even a highly skewed differential incentive (in the ratio of 5:2) favoring cross-ethnic interactions is insufficient to offset the barriers. I also find evidence consistent with the presence of a “stereotype threat”, which constitutes a part of my future research agenda.

As a global health economist, my research agenda also encompasses child nutrition, elderly wellbeing, and program evaluation in general. On child nutrition, I am interested in understanding the prevalence and determinants of the dual burden of under- and over-nutrition; evaluating long-term and intergenerational effects of early childhood interventions; and investigating the mechanisms through which external factors, such as migration and urbanization, impact nutrition. On ageing, I am interested in the supply-side factors, such as the role of social protection programs and the behavior of providers in affecting the elderly’s health.