Peter S. Arno Ph.D.

Senior Fellow and Director of Health Policy Research
Political Economy Research Institute
University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Email: Discipline: Economics Expertise: Population Health

Investigator Award
The Impact of Growing Income and Wealth Inequality on Health in the United States
Award Year: 1997 Dr. Arno assesses the impact of growing income and wealth inequality on health in the U.S. He explores the mechanisms through which economic disparities affect health and identifies implications for public policy. Two approaches are used to model the relationship between income and health: an aggregate national time series model and a pooled, cross-sectional time series model using states as the level of analysis. Research questions include: 1) Does the relationship between income inequality and health affect certain diseases or age, sex, and ethnic/racial groups more than others? 2) Do these relationships hold for changes in the wealth distribution of the population? 3) What mechanisms explain the relationship between income and wealth inequality and health? 4) What are the public policy implications of an independent relationship between income and wealth inequality and health outcomes? Results should heighten public awareness of the health implications of economic disparity and encourage the inclusion of these neglected health effects in the policymaking process.


Dr. Peter S. Arno is a health economist, as well as a senior fellow and director of Health Policy Research at the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and a distinguished fellow at the City University of New York Institute for Health Equity. Dr. Arno was a professor of Health Policy at New York Medical College and the founding director of its doctoral program in Health Policy and Management and the Center for Long Term Care Research & Policy. Previously, Dr. Arno was the director of the Division of Public Health and Policy Research in the Department of Epidemiology and Population Health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center. He received his doctorate in economics at the New School for Social Research and was a Pew Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute for Health Policy Studies and the Institute for Health and Aging at UCSF and a scholar of the American Foundation for AIDS Research. His book with Karyn Feiden, Against the Odds: The Story of AIDS Drug Development, Politics & Profits (New York: HarperCollins), was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Dr. Arno’s recent work includes studies on the impact of income support policies such as Social Security and the Earned Income Tax Credit on population health and health disparities; food insecurity and the elderly; social and geographic determinants of obesity and the economics of informal caregiving and long-term care. Dr. Arno has testified before numerous U.S. House and Senate committees on areas related to his research.