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Ellen Magenheim


Virtual hours only-Wednesdays 11:00am-12:30pm and by appointment. Zoom-



  2. Phone: (610) 328-8140
  3. Kohlberg 211
  4. Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays 4:00pm-5:00pm
Ellen Magenheim

Research Interests

Professor Magenheim teaches microeconomics, health economics, and behavioral economics. Her current research focuses on applying insights from behavioral economics to improve outcomes in health and financial behavior. She also studies the role of health care labor in determining health care outcomes and costs. As a member of the Public Policy Program, she has supervised public policy theses relating to education, health, and welfare programs. Professor Magenheim's CV [pdf].


ECON 011. Intermediate Economics

(reading list [pdf] )

An exploration of decision-making by consumers and firms, the structure and performance of markets, income distribution, the role of the government in the economy, and welfare analysis. Goals for the course are to deepen your understanding of concepts learned in the microeconomics part of Introductory Economics, to introduce you to a range of new analytical tools, and to help you gain facility with using these tools in an active manner. The course is also intended to help you develop the ability to apply microeconomic theory to a range of behaviors and problems and, finally, to give you insights into the strengths and limitations of microeconomics.

ECON 075. Health Economics

(reading list [pdf])

Applying the tools of microeconomic analysis to health and health care, we analyze the determinants of demand for and supply of health care, including the relationship between demographic variables, health status, and health care consumption. The structure and behavior of the major components of the supply side are studied, including physicians, hospitals, and insurance companies. The variety of ways in which the government intervenes in the health care sector - including regulation, antitrust, social insurance, and direct provision - will be considered. Although the primary focus is on the economics of health care in the United States we broaden our focus internationally during our study of health care systems and global issues in public health.

Behavioral Economics

(reading list [pdf])

Standard economic theory assumes we are all perfectly rational and use all the information we have available to make decisions that maximize our well-being. But we all know people (perhaps including ourselves) who behave in ways that violate this assumption. People spend money they've promised to save for retirement, hold on to stocks they know they should sell, and keep smoking despite committee to quit. These are not random mistakes. They reflect systematic problems in our ability to understand complex situations, to make good decisions about the future, and to separate faculty information from our emotional responses. Behavioral economics provides models of behavior that allow us to understand why we make mistakes about what will really be in our own best interest. From these models we can extract strategies that enable us to make decisions that are consistent with our true goals and preferences. Major topics include behavioral economics vs. standard economic analysis, financial mistakes, health mistakes, using behavioral economics to change behavior, and behavioral economics and public policy. An offering of Swarthmore's Lifelong Learning Program.