Jonathan Gruber (economist)

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For other people of the same name, see Jonathan Gruber (disambiguation).
Jonathan Gruber
Born (1965-09-30) September 30, 1965 (age 48)
Nationality American
Institution MIT
Field Health economics
Alma mater Harvard University (PhD, 1992)
MIT (BSc, 1987)
Information at IDEAS/RePEc

Jonathan Holmes Gruber is a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he has taught since 1992. He is also the director of the Health Care Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research, where he is a research associate. He is an associate editor of both the Journal of Public Economics and the Journal of Health Economics. In 2009 he was elected to the Executive Committee of the American Economic Association.


He was born on September 30, 1965. He completed his BS in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1987 and his PhD in economics from Harvard University in 1992 with thesis titled Changes in the Structure of Employer-Provided Health Insurance.[1] He began his career as an assistant professor of economics at MIT.[citation needed] Currently,[clarification needed] he is a professor of economics at MIT. He is also a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.[citation needed]

DHS Controversy[edit]

In January 2010, after news emerged that Gruber was under a $297,000 contract with the Department of Health and Human Services, while at the same time promoting the Obama administration's health care reform policies, many suggested a conflict of interest.[2][3][4]

While he did disclose his DHS connections in an article for the New England Journal of Medicine, he did not do so in earlier articles in major publications, which he either authored, or in which he was prominently cited. The New York Times published a clarification, noting he failed to disclose his government ties, as their paper requires, before publishing op-eds.[5] Ezra Klein (of The Washington Post) and Ronald Brownstein (of The Atlantic) issued statements to this effect.[6][7]

The conservative Americans for Tax Reform organization has called for Gruber to return the DHS money from his contract, due to his lack of disclosure.[8] Liberal commentator Jane Hamsher of FireDogLake Action criticized Gruber and the Obama administration for this lack of transparency.[9]


Gruber's research has focused on public finance and health economics. He has published more than 140 research articles, has edited six research volumes. He is a co-editor of the Journal of Public Economics, an associate editor of the Journal of Health Economics, and the author of Public Finance and Public Policy.[10] and Health Care Reform, a graphic novel delineating the Affordable Care Act.[citation needed]

In 2006, he received the American Society of Health Economists Inaugural Medal for the best health economist in the nation aged 40 and under.[11] He was elected a member of the Institute of Medicine in 2005.[citation needed]

Public service[edit]

During the 1997–1998 academic year, Gruber was on leave as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy at the Treasury Department. From 2003–06 he was a key architect of Massachusetts' healthcare reform. In 2006 he became an inaugural member of the Health Connector Board, the main implementing body for that effort. In that year, he was named the 19th most powerful person in health care in the United States by Modern Healthcare magazine. During the 2008 election he was a consultant to the Clinton, Edwards and Obama presidential campaigns. In 2009–10 he served as a technical consultant to the Obama Administration and worked with both the administration and Congress to help craft the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).[clarification needed][citation needed]

Published works[edit]

  • On February 15, 2006, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities published an article by Gruber entitled "The Cost and Coverage Impact of the President's Health Insurance Budget Proposals"[12]
  • In a December 4, 2008 New York Times op-ed, "Medicine for the Job Market", he claimed that expanding health insurance, even in difficult financial times would stimulate the economy.[13]
  • On February 9, 2011, the Center for American Progress published an article by Gruber titled "Health Care Reform Without the Individual Mandate," analyzing the health insurance coverage impacts of alternative policy options for encouraging purchase of health insurance under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, including the mandate, a late penalty, and auto-enrollment.[14]

He has published over 100 research articles.[15]


  1. ^ Gruber, John. "Changes in the structure of employer-provided health insurance". ProQuest. Retrieved 9 January 2014. 
  2. ^ James, Michael (January 9, 2010). "On Jonathan Gruber and Disclosure". ABC News. Retrieved November 15, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Jonathan Gruber Failed to Disclose His $297,600 Contract With HHS". Huffington Post. May 25, 2011. Retrieved November 15, 2013. 
  4. ^ Berger, Judson (January 8, 2010). "Economist Was Under Contract With HHS While Touting Health Reform Bill". Fox News. Retrieved November 15, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Corrections: Editor's Note". New York Times. January 9, 2010. Retrieved November 15, 2013. 
  6. ^ Klein, Ezra. Jon Gruber profile at, January 8, 2010; accessed January 13, 2010.
  7. ^ Brownstein, Ronald. "On Jonathan Gruber's Conflict Of Interest", The Atlantic Politics Channel. January 8, 2010; accessed January 13, 2010.
  8. ^ Fabry, Sandra. "ATR and CFA to MIT Economist: Give the Money Back." Americans for Tax Reform. January 12, 2010.
  9. ^ Hamsher, Jane. "How the White House Used Jonathan Gruber's Work to Orchestrate the Appearance of Broad Consensus", FireDogLake Action; January 13, 2010.
  10. ^ MIT Department of Economics: Jonathan Gruber: Short Biography
  11. ^ Honors & awards – Fall 2006 Soundings
  12. ^ The Cost and Coverage Impact of The President’s Health Insurance Budget Proposals, February 15, 2006]
  13. ^ Gruber, Jonathan (December 4, 2008), "Medicine for the Job Market", New York Times 
  14. ^ Gruber, Jonathan (February 9, 2011), Health Care Reform Without the Individual Mandate 
  15. ^ NBER Working Papers by Jonathan Gruber

External links[edit]