Roland Sturm

Roland Sturm
Senior Economist; Professor of Policy Analysis, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


Ph.D. in economics, Stanford University; M.S in statistics, Stanford University; M.A. in economics, University of Florida

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email

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Roland Sturm is a senior economist at RAND and a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School, where he teaches advanced econometrics and statistics. He is the author of 170 scientific publications. Sturm has analyzed “big data” for more than 25 years, including operating records of nuclear power plants, medical records, insurance claims, credit card purchases, and supermarket scanner data. Current projects develop microsimulation tools to predict policy impacts on long-term population outcomes. Previous projects studied how urban design and neighborhood characteristics affect lifestyles and health; the effects of zoning and labeling regulations; the effects of health behaviors on health care costs; and how managed care and policy changes affect behavioral health. He has testified before the U.S. Senate, House of Representatives, and numerous state legislatures. Sturm received a Ph.D. in economics and an M.A. in statistics from Stanford University and an M.S. in economics from the University of Florida. 

Recent Projects

  • New Risk Models For Diabetes Complications
  • Social Costs of Extreme Climate Events
  • Microsimulation of Changing Health Risks
  • Discrete Choice Experiment on Menu Labeling
  • Eating Better For Less: Evaluating A National Discount Program on Healthy Food Purchases in South Africa

Selected Publications

Herman R, Chen A, Sturm R, "Improving Diet Quality in US Adults: A 30-year Health and Economic Impact Microsimulation," American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2022

Sturm R, An R, "Obesity and economic environments," CA Cancer J Clin, 64(5), 2014

Sturm R, Hattori A, "Diet and obesity in Los Angeles County 2007-2012: Evaluating the Fast Food Ban," Soc Sci Med, 2015

Sturm R, An R, Segal D, Patel P, "A cash-back rebate program for healthy food purchases in South Africa: results from scanner data," American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 44(6), 2013

Sturm R, Powell LM, Chriqui JF, Chaloupka FJ, "Soda Taxes, Soft Drink Consumption, and Children's Body Mass Index," Health Affairs, 29(5), 2010

Wells KB, Sturm R, Sherbourne CD, Meredith LS, Caring For Depression, Harvard University Press

Honors & Awards

  • Willard Manning Award in Health Policy and Economic Research, ICMPE
  • Edwin E. and Mary T. Huddleson Outstanding Teacher Award, Pardee RAND Graduate School of Policy Analysis
  • Award for Excellence in Health Services Research, National Institute of Health Care Management

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: ABC; Associated Press; Chicago Sun-Times; CNN; Health & Medicine Week; KCRW-FM; KNX-AM; Los Angeles Times; NBC Nightly News; New York Times;; NPR; Reuters; Scripps Howard News Service; USA Today; Wall Street Journal; Marketplace Radio; Washington Post


  • Obesity

    Five Myths About American Obesity

    Two in three Americans are overweight or obese. There are many popular theories about what's causing the obesity epidemic, but many are not supported by data. What's clear is that most U.S. adults eat too many calories.

    Mar 13, 2017


  • Obesity

    What's Behind the Obesity Epidemic? Easily Accessible Food, and Lots of It

    That no group is immune to rising obesity rates suggests that universal environmental factors are driving the trend. The clearest change concerns food availability and cost.

    Jul 22, 2014

    The Health Care Blog

  • Health Behaviors

    Eating Better for Less

    A combination of things might well slow the obesity epidemic while also improving the American people's overall nutritional well-being: lowering prices on healthier food, initiatives to control portion sizes, and a long-term campaign to support better food quality.

    May 28, 2013

    Modern Healthcare

  • Public Health

    Worth Its Weight in Gold?

    In terms of healthcare use and chronic health conditions, obesity is comparable to aging 20 years, with the health of a 30 year old resembling that of a 50 year old, writes Roland Sturm.

    Apr 21, 2011

    Public Service Review: European Union