Erasmus School of Economics
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Placement: Harvard Medical School
Mentor: Tom McGuire, Ph.D. (Harvard Medical School)
Project Title: The Social Returns to Mental Health Care
Bastian Ravesteijn, M.Phil., is a 2015–16 Dutch Harkness Fellow in Health Care Policy and Practice. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in economics in the Erasmus School of Economics at Erasmus University Rotterdam. Prior to this, he was a research assistant at the Hugo Sinzheimer Institute for Labor Law at the University of Amsterdam. He has also previously held positions at the Municipality of Amsterdam, first as a public relations and information officer, and also as a policy advisor. Ravesteijn has been the recipient of two Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement (Netspar) research grants, and his current research interests are in health and labor economics, microeconomics, and mental health. Ravesteijn received a M.Phil. in economics from the Tinbergen Institute.
Studies have shown that the demand for mental health care is more elastic than the demand for other types of care, such as outpatient medical use, but data limitations and the lack of more experimental settings have hindered our understanding of the social returns to mental health care in the U.S.—and consequently our ability to optimally price different mental health services through cost sharing. The unique situation in the Netherlands, where a natural experiment with cost sharing is accompanied by an unprecedented richness of available linked register data, helped formulate value-based health insurance policies to reduce waste of financial resources, social costs, and human suffering. To determine if findings in the Netherlands are generalizable to the U.S., Ravesteijn will collaborate with U.S. researchers and use U.S. data to evaluate how mental health care use and costs have evolved over time. His analysis will compare the U.S. and Dutch policy contexts with respect to mental health care delivery and financial accessibility, as well as estimate the price elasticity of demand use through two additional sources of variation in the price of mental health care. Using uniquely linked Dutch data sets, Ravesteijn will also investigate whether lower mental health care expenditures are offset by an increase in other types of health care expenditures. The Dutch data will allow him to explore associations between mental health treatment and outcomes such as economic productivity, crime and victimization, and homelessness. Over the course of this research, Ravesteijn will estimate the social returns and costs of mental health treatment, based on exogenous variation in mental health care use, i.e. variation that occurs outside the model and is unexplained by the model. The results are highly relevant for U.S. and Dutch policymakers looking to reduce health care costs, improve risk pooling, and lower the social costs of mental illness.
Career Activity since Fellowship:
Current Position: Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School and LIRAES - Université Paris-Descartes (updated 04/2017)