MPP Seminar: Rebecca McKibbin (University of Sydney) – School of Economics MPP Seminar: Rebecca McKibbin (University of Sydney) – School of Economics

MPP Seminar: Rebecca McKibbin (University of Sydney)

Does Research Save Lives? The Local Spillovers of Biomedical Research on Mortality

Presenter: Rebecca McKibbin | University of Sydney
Co-author: Bruce A. Weinberg | Ohio State University, IZA, and NBER



This paper investigates the local impact of biomedical research on mortality in the USA. Causally estimating the marginal value of biomedical research is  challenging due a lack of micro data that links research with health outcomes. In this paper we create a new linkage between a research database (PubMed) and administrative death records that enables research to be related to mortality at the geographic, research field and time level. We then estimate the marginal impact of research on mortality using county level shocks to research activity by disease. Our identification strategy builds on the literature on the dissemination of knowledge, specifically that of local knowledge spillovers. By utilizing variation across diseases, time and distance from research we are able to control for additional trends relative to the current literature. Our results show that on the margin the health benefits of research exceed the cost at current levels of funding. Our results also provide novel evidence that there are health benefits to the local communities (local spillovers) in which biomedical research is conducted.

Important note: This is a hybrid event and will also require a password to access the online seminar. Please email the event organiser – Dave Mc Manamon ( for access.


Mar 26 2021


1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

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