George Wehby


A portrait of George Wehby of the Department of Health Management and Policy at the University of Iowa College of Public Health.

Title(s): Professor, HMP Doctoral Program Director
Department: Health Management and Policy
Office: N250 CPHB
Phone: (319) 384-3814

George Wehby, PhD, is a health economist and a health services researcher. His research focuses on studying socioeconomic, healthcare, behavioral, and policy determinants of health, especially child health, and the long term effects of early life conditions on health and human capital, using econometric methods. Dr. Wehby has conducted several studies that evaluated the effects of prenatal care, maternal health behaviors, and household investments on early child health and development. He is also interested in the interplays between child health and educational achievement. Dr Wehby has also completed several national and international studies on racial and socioeconomic disparities in child health and development. He also works on interdisciplinary studies that integrate genetics and social sciences and has pioneered several studies that use genetic information for identifying causal prenatal behavior effects on child health. Dr. Wehby has a very active externally funded research program and has received several NIH and CDC grants. Dr. Wehby directs the doctoral program and teaches courses in health economics and health services research methods.

Dr. Wehby holds secondary appointments in the Department of Economics, Public Policy Center and the Department of Preventive and Community Dentistry. Dr. Wehby is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economics Research. He is also associate editor at Economics and Human Biology.

Dr. Wehby has served on multiple grant review and advisory committees and he is currently a standing member of the NIH Social Sciences and Population Studies Study Section (SSPB).

PhD in Health Services and Policy focal area:

  • Health Economics

Selected Publications (out of 100+ publications):

Wehby GL, Murray JC, Castilla EE, Lopez-Camelo JS, Ohsfeldt RL. “Quantile effects of prenatal care on birth weight in Argentina.” Health Economics. 2009; 18:1307-21.

Wehby GL, Murray JC, McCarthy AM, Castilla EE. “Racial Gaps in Child Health Insurance Coverage in Four South American Countries: The Role of Wealth, Human Capital and Other Household Characteristics.” Health Services Research. 2011; 46:2119-38.

Wehby GL, Jugessur A, Moreno LM, Murray JC, Wilcox A, Lie, RT. “Genes as instruments for studying risk behavior effects: an application to maternal smoking and orofacial clefts.” Health Services and Outcomes Research Methodology. 2011; 11:54-78.

Wehby GL, Prater K, McCarthy AM, Castilla EE, Murray JC. “The impact of maternal smoking during pregnancy on early child neurodevelopment.” Journal of Human Capital. 2011; 5:207-254.

Wehby GL, McCarthy AM, Castilla EE, Murray JC. “The Impact of Household Investments on Early Child Neurodevelopment and on Racial and Socioeconomic Developmental Gaps in South America.” Forum for Health Economics & Policy. 2011; 14 (Article 11):1-58.

Wehby GL and Courtemanche C. “The Heterogeneity of Cigarette Price Effects on Body Weight”. Journal of Health Economics. 2012. 31(5):719-29.

Wehby GL, Ullrich F, and Xie Y. “Hospital Volume of Very Low Birth Weight Infants and In-Hospital Mortality: An Instrumental Variables Study”. Medical Care. 2012;50(8):714-21

Wehby GL, Castilla EE, Lopez-Camelo Jorge. “Hospital Volume and Mortality of Very Low Birth Weight Infants in South America.” Health Services Research. 2012;47(4):1502-21.

Guarnizo Herreno C and Wehby GL. “Explaining racial/ethnic disparities in children’s dental health: a decomposition analysis.” American Journal of Public Health. 2012;102(5):859-66

Nyarko K, Lopez-Camelo J, Castilla EE, and Wehby GL. “Explaining Racial Disparities in Infant Health in Brazil”. American Journal of Public Health. 2013;103:1675-84.

Wehby GL. “Child health insurance and early preventive care in three South American countries.” Health Policy and Planning. 2013;28(3):328-38.

Wehby GL and McCarthy AM. “Economic Gradients in Early Child Neurological Development: A Multi-country Study”. Social Science and Medicine. 2013;78:86-95.

Wehby GL. “Living at higher grounds reduces child neurodevelopment –Evidence from South America”. Journal of Pediatrics. 2013;162(3):606-611.

Wehby GL. “Child Health Insurance Coverage and Household Activity Toward Child Development in Four South American Countries.” Maternal and Child Health Journal. 2014;18(4):939-49.

Stephanie von Hinke Kessler Scholder, George L. Wehby, Luisa Zuccolo, Sarah Lewis. “Alcohol Exposure In Utero and Child Academic Achievement”. Economic Journal. 2014; 124(576): 634–667.

Wehby GL, Nyarko K, Lopez-Camelo JS. “Fetal Health Shocks and Early Inequalities in Health Capital Accumulation”. Health Economics. 2014; 23:69-92.

Cristina Woodhouse, Jorge Lopez-Camelo, and George Wehby. “The Effect of Prenatal Care on Birth Weight in South America: A multi-Country Study”. PLOS One. 2014;9(3):e91292.

Wehby GL, Collet B, Barron S, Romitti P, Ansley T, Speltz M. “Academic Achievement of Children and Adolescents with Oral Clefts.” Pediatrics.2014; 133(5):785-92.

Guarnizo Herreno C and Wehby GL. “Dentist Supply and Children’s Dental Health in the United States”. American Journal of Public Health. 2014.e1-e7.

Queiros F, Wehby GL, Halpern CT. “Early Life Disabilities and Human Capital Accumulation in Young Adulthood”. Public Health Reports. 2015; 130: 213-221.

Wehby G, Gili J, Pawluk M, Castilla E, Lopez-Camelo J. “Disparities in Birth Weight and Gestational Age by Ethnic Ancestry in South American countries”. International Journal of Public Health. 2015;60(3):343-51.

Wehby GL, Domingue BW, Boardman JD. “Prevention, Use of Health Services, and Genes: Implications of Genetics for Policy Formation”. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. 2015; 34(3):519-36.

Wolinsky F, Jones MP, Ullrich F, Lou Y, Wehby GL. “Cognitive Function and the Concordance between Survey Reports and Medicare Claims in a Nationally Representative Cohort of Older Adults”.  Medical Care. 2015; 53:455-62.

Xie Y, Yuexin Tang, Wehby GL. “Federal Health Coverage Mandates and Healthcare Utilization: The Case of the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act”. Journal of Women’s Health. 2015; 24:655-662.

Wehby GL and Hockenberry J. “The effects of child disability and health problems on subsequent maternal fertility”. Review of Economics of Household. 2015; DOI:10.1007/s11150-015-9311-z

Wehby GL, Jones MP, Ullrich F, Lou Y, Wolinsky F. “”Does the Relationship of the Proxy-Reporter to the Target Person Affect the Concordance of Survey-Reports and Medicare Claims?”.  Health Services Research. 2016; 51:314-327.

Wehby GL, Collet B, Barron S, Romitti P, Ansley T. “Trajectories of Academic Achievement of Children and Adolescents with Oral Clefts.” Archives of Disease in Childhood. 2015; 100: 1148-1154.

Shane D, Ayyagari P, Wehby G. “Continued Gains in Health Insurance but Few Signs of Increased Utilization: An Update on the ACA Dependent Coverage Mandate”. 2016; Medical Care Research and Review; 73:478-492.

Courtemanche C, Pinkston J, Ruhm C, Wehby G.  “Can Changing Economic Incentives Explain the Rise in Obesity?” Southern Economic Journal. 2016; 82:1266-1310

Wehby G, Pawluk M, Nyarko K, and Lopez-Camelo J. “Explaining Ethnic Disparities in Preterm Birth in Argentina and Ecuador”. Global Public Health. 2016 Nov 22:1-18. doi: 10.1080/17441692.2016.1251603.

Ayyagari P, Shane D, Wehby G. “The Impact of Medicare Part D on Emergency Department Visits”. Health Economics. 2017; 26(4):536-544.

Wehby GL, Gimenez L, Lopez-Camelo J. “The Impact of Unemployment Cycles on Child and Maternal Health in Argentina”. International Journal of Public Health. 2017; 62(2):197-207.

Wehby G and Lyu W. “The Impact of the ACA Medicaid Expansions on Health Insurance Coverage through 2015 and Coverage Disparities by Age, Race/Ethnicity, and Gender”.   Health Services Research. 2017 May 18. doi: 10.1111/1475-6773.12711.

Wehby GL, Domingue B, Ullrich F, Wolinsky F. Genetic Predisposition to Obesity and Medicare Expenditures. The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences. 2017; Forthcoming.

Shane D and Wehby G. “The Impact of the Affordable Care Act’s Dependent Coverage Mandate on Use of Dental Treatments and Preventive Services”. Medical Care. 2017; 55(9):841-847.

Brown E and Wehby G. “Economic Conditions and Drug and Opioid Overdose Deaths”. Medical Care Research and Review. 2017; Forthcoming.

Wehby G and Lopez-Camelo J. “Maternal Education Gradients in Infant Health in Four South American Countries”. Maternal and Child Health Journal. 2017; Forthcoming.

Wehby GL, Domingue B, and Wolinsky F. “Genetic Risks for Chronic Conditions: Implications for Long-Term Wellbeing”. The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences. 2017; Forthcoming.

Obrizan M and Wehby GL. “Health Expenditures and Global Inequalities in Longevity”. World Development. 2017; Forthcoming.

Courses Taught

  • Health Services Research Methods
  • Health Economics

Research Interests

  • Health economics
  • Household economics
  • Applied econometrics
  • Policy effects on health
  • Child health and development
  • Education and health
  • Genetics and social sciences