Juan Pablo Atal

Office Address: 
602 PCPSE, 133 South 36th Street


  • Juan Pablo Atal (PSC/PARC) was recently awarded funding from the Penn Global Engagement Fund. The award is for a project called “The Role of Nurses in Hospital Productivity.” The goal of this project is to strengthen cross-disciplinary research between Economics and Nursing to understand the key role that nurses play in the production of efficient and high-quality health care. The context of the study is to leverage the network of Chilean general high-complexity public hospitals for detailed data on staffing, wages, infrastructure as well as health care outcomes. such as mortality and readmission rates

  • Juan Pablo Atal (PSC/PARC Research Associate) was named a researcher in the 2020-2021 cohort for the Penn Center for Improving Care Delivery for the Aging (CICADA).

  • José-Víctor Ríos-Rull (PSC), Jesús Fernández-Villaverde (PSC), Dirk Krueger (PSC), Juan Pablo Atal (PSC), Hanming Fang (PSC), and Jere R. Behrman (PSC/PARC) were featured in an OMNIA article about a new repository for COVID-19 research at the Penn Institute of Economic Research (PIER). 

Assistant Professor of Economics
Associate Undergraduate Chair of Economics

Ph.D., Economics, University of California, Berkeley, 2016


I am an applied microeconomist whose research focuses on different aspects of health economics and public economics, two areas directly related to PARC. My current research on health economics is focused on health insurance, the determinants of team productivity in emergency departments and the effect of quality regulations on the pharmaceutical market. My work on public economics has focused on social protection as well as on the determinants of tax compliance. A recent paper, "Exit, Voice or Loyalty? An Investigation into Mandated Portability of Front-Loaded Private Health Plans,” with Hanming Fang, Martin Karlsson, Nicolas R. Ziebarth (The Journal of Risk and Insurance) studies the workings of the German private health insurance market; a market based around dynamic contracts. We study a major reform aimed at fostering the switching of affiliates across insurance companies that did not produce the expected results. Using a theoretical model and empirical evidence, we find that renegotiation between insurers and their clients are key for understanding why switching rates across companies did not increase after the regulation. My research in this area expands the knowledge regarding the workings of long-term insurance contracts and could be used as an input for evaluating the proposals to introduce dynamic incentives into the US individual health insurance market. In 2018, I was chosen, by the University of Pennsylvania School of Arts and Sciences, to receive an Axilrod Faculty Fellowship for two years, which helped to support me focus on aging research. I collaborate with Aiken, Smith and McHugh with their Chilean project, Healthcare Workforce and Quality Outcomes in Chile. My interest overlap with PARC themes Global Aging and Health, Health Care and Long- Term Care at Older Ages, and Health Disparities in Aging.

My 2019-2020 Quartet Pilot, “The Spatial Distribution of Health Care Services within Countries” project was funded by the Population Studies Center (P2C HD 044964). In this project, addressed answers to three fundamental questions in health care. First, how unequally is access to health care distributed within countries? Second, to what extent can within-country differences in health care resources explain within country differences in health outcomes? Third, to what extent could countries distribute their resources more efficiently so as to achieve better aggregate health outcomes? This project addresses these questions by a) conducting a comparative cross-country study of the spatial distribution of health care facilities and health care workers within countries, b) studying the causal effect of access to health care on health outcomes. These two inputs are the necessary information to evaluate the efficiency of different allocations of resources.


  • Departamento de Economía Universidad de Chile: Juan-Pablo Atal on “Where are the missing emergencies? Lockdown and health risk during the pandemic”
  • FNE Report: Juan Pablo Atal on Private Market Pharmacies, Laboratories, and Distributors