Christopher Looney headshot

Christopher J. Ruhm

Unit: Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy
Department: Frank Batten School of Leadership & Public Policy
Office location and address
Garrett 101
235 McCormick Rd
Charlottesville, Virginia 22904
University of California, Berkeley, Ph.D. 1984
University of California, Berkeley, M.A. 1981
University of California, Davis, B.A. (with highest honors) 1978

Christopher J. Ruhm is Professor of Public Policy and Economics at the University of Virginia. He received his doctorate in economics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1984. Prior to joining UVA, in 2010, he held faculty positions at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Boston University, and was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Brandeis University. During the 1996-97 academic year he served as Senior Economist on President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers, where his main responsibilities were in the areas of health policy, aging and labor market issues. He is currently a Research Associate in the Health Economics, Health Care Policy, and Children’s Programs of the National Bureau of Economic Research and a Research Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in Germany. 

Professor Ruhm’s recent research has focused on examining how various aspects of health are produced – including the causes of the fatal drug overdose epidemic, the rise in obesity, and the relationship between macroeconomic conditions and health – and on the role of government policies in helping parents with young children balance the competing needs of work and family life. His earlier research includes study of the determinants of health and risky behaviors, effects of job displacements and mandated employment benefits, transition into retirement, and the causes and consequences of alcohol and illegal drug policies. He is co-author of Time Out With Baby: The Case for Paid Parental Leave(published by Zero to Three) Turbulence in the American Workplace(published by Oxford University Press) and has more than 100 pieces published as book chapters and articles in economics, public policy and health journals. His research has been cited in national and international media outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Money Magazine, USA Today, Business Week, CNN, ABC, CBS, BBC and NPR.

Ruhm has received external research funding from a diverse set of organizations including the U.S. Department of Labor, National Science Foundation, several of the National Institutes of Health, the Russell Sage Foundation and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He is currently associate editor of the Journal of Health Economics and Southern Economic Journal, on the editorial board of the American Journal of Health Economics, Economics Letters and the Journal of Labor Research, President-Elect of the Southern Economic Association, on the Board of Directors of the American Society of Health Economists and a steering committee member of the Southeastern Health Economics Study Group.

Examining the Policy Implications of the Failure to Accurately Classify Drugs Involvement in Overdose Deaths
Source: Laura and John Arnold Foundation
January 01, 2019 – December 31, 2021
Public Policy and Opioid Drug Abuse: Investigating the Effects of Paid Family and Medical Leave and Medicaid
Source: Washington Center for Equitable Growth Inc
July 01, 2019 – December 31, 2020
Understanding the Effects of California¿s Paid Family and Medical Leave Law on Inequality in Labor Market Outcomes for Older Adults: Evidence from the ACS
Source: The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of
June 01, 2019 – August 31, 2020
Source: Michigan State University
July 01, 2016 – June 30, 2018
Source: Michigan State University
July 01, 2016 – July 01, 2016
Are Eating and Obesity a Family Affair?
Source: U.S. Department Of Agriculture
July 05, 2012 – September 30, 2013
Local Economic Conditions
Source: Old Dominion University Research Foundation
January 01, 2011 – August 31, 2013
Using the German LIAB Data Set to Assess the Influence of the Employment Environment on Working Longer
Source: Michigan State University
June 01, 2011 – June 01, 2013
ECON 4880: Seminar in Policy Analysis
Credits: 3
Introduces the methods used to estimate the effects of existing and proposed government programs. Methods will be illustrated with applications to several areas of government policy. Students will complete an empirical policy analysis under faculty supervision. Prerequisite: ECON 3010 or 3110, ECON 3720, and ECON 4310.
ECON 4999: Distinguished Majors Thesis
Credits: 1–3
Supervised research culminating in the writing of a Distinguished Majors thesis. Restricted to members of the Distinguished Majors Program.
DS 6999: Independent Study
Credits: 1–12
Graduate-level independent study conducted under the supervision of a specific instructor(s)
LPPA 7110: Economics of Public Policy II
Credits: 3
Prepares students to apply economic analysis to public policy problems. Topics include externalities, industry regulation, and policy problems of allocating resources over time. Examples will show a broad range of substantive applications to domestic and international policymaking.
LPPP 7750: Applied Policy Project II
Credits: 3
The Applied Policy Project (APP) is the capstone event of the MPP program, an independent analytical project for each student. During APP II, students produce a final report of approximately 50 single-spaced, professionally bound pages. The report is presented to both the faculty member and to the client.