March 25, 2017

Prof. Paul Gertler to be Honored by Erasmus University in Rotterdam

Paul GertlerProf. Paul Gertler will receive an honorary degree from Rotterdam's Erasmus University in November in recognition of his extensive research in global health care.

Gertler, who holds the Li Ka Shing Foundation Chair in Health Management at Haas, is known as a pioneer in global health evaluation. His work has earned him numerous awards and an appointment at the World Bank, where he served as chief economist of its Human Development Network from 2004 to 2006.

“The Netherlands is a world leader in global health economics, and Erasmus is one of the top places currently researching in this area,” says Gertler, who is also scientific director of the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA) at UC Berkeley.  “It’s an honor to be recognized by this university.”

In a letter announcing the degree, Erasmus cited Gertler’s economic analysis of financial incentives in healthcare that earned him the Juan Jose Bobadilla Medal for Global Health from the Mexican National Institutes of Health in 2013. Gertler was the first economist to win the annual award, which is typically given to medical professionals or epidemiologists.

“Paul is among the pioneers in applying randomized control trials in the evaluation of healthcare interventions in developing countries,” said Erasmus Prof. Eddy van Doorslaer, one of three faculty members to sponsor the honorary doctorate.

Throughout his career, Gertler has worked for several ministries of health and social development, co-leading an impact evaluation of the Mexican government’s welfare program, Oportunidades, as well as the Rwandan government's rollout of results-based financing for health. Other research has examined the impact of computers in Honduran schools; promoting hand washing in Peru; and improving slum housing in El Salvador, Mexico, and Uruguay.

Gertler has published in a range of economics and public-health journals, as well as in top science journals including PNAS and Science. His body of research has addressed early childhood development, education, fertility and contraceptive use, HIV-AIDS, energy and climate change, housing, job training, poverty alleviation, labor markets, and water and sanitation. His 2014 paper in Science showed that early childhood stimulation leads to a 25 percent increase in income later in life.

In a recent paper co-authored with Berkeley-Haas Assoc. Prof. Lucas Davis, Gertler pinpointed the relationship between temperature, income, and air conditioning. The study, which focused on Mexico, found that in warm areas there’s a close relationship between household income and air conditioner adoption, which threatens air quality in emerging economies.

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