Zachary Wagner

Zachary Wagner
Economist; Professor of Policy Analysis, Pardee RAND Graduate School


Ph.D. in health economics, University of California, Berkeley; M.A. in international development, University of California, San Diego


Zachary Wagner is an economist at RAND and a professor of policy analysis at Pardee RAND Graduate School. He is a health economist with training in both applied microeconomics and public health. His research uses economic theory and econometrics to study how people make decisions about health and health care around the globe. Wagner's topical expertise includes take-up of health technology, quality of care in low-income countries, disasters and health, health insurance for the poor, community health workers, HIV/AIDS, child diarrhea, private sector health care, the opioid crisis, and family planning.

Wagner's research uses a variety of methodologies including randomized controlled trials, quasi-experimental evaluations, analysis of large secondary data sets, cost-effectiveness analysis, and geospatial analysis. He has completed research in several countries in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia. He is currently leading two large NIH funded projects; one that studies how to improve treatment of child diarrhea in India and another that estimates the effect of natural disasters on child health in low- and middle-income countries. Wagner's research has been featured in leading journals including The Lancet, BMJ, PLOS Medicine, Health Affairs, and AEJ: Economic Policy. Prior to joining RAND, Wagner was a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University. He holds a Ph.D. in health policy (economics track) from UC Berkeley and a Master's degree in international development from UC San Diego.

Pardee RAND Graduate School Courses

Selected Publications

Zachary Wagner, Barbara Mukasa, Josephine Nakakande, Chad Stecher, Uzaib Saya, and Sebastian Linnemayr, "The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on use of HIV care, antiretroviral therapy adherence, and viral suppression: An observational cohort study from Uganda," JAIDS, 2021

Pascaline Dupas, Basimenye Nhlema, Zachary Wagner, Aaron Wolf, and Emily Wroe, "Expanding Access to Clean Water for the Rural Poor: Experimental Evidence from Malawi," AEJ: Economic Policy, 2021

Zachary Wagner, Sam Heft-Neal, Zulfiqar A. Bhutta, Robert E. Black, Marshall Burke, Eran Bendavid, "Armed Conflict and Child Health in Africa," The Lancet, 2018

Zachary Wagner, John Bosco Asiimwe, and David I. Levine, "“When Financial Incentives Backfire: Evidence from a community health worker experiment in Uganda”," Journal of Development Economics, 2019

Zachary Wagner, Sam Heft-Neal, Paul Wise, Robert E. Black, Marshall Burke, Ties Boerma, Zulfiqar A. Bhutta, Eran Bendavid, "Women and Children Living in Areas of Armed Conflict: a geospatial analysis of mortality and orphanhood in Africa," The Lancet Global Health, 2019

Zachary Wagner, John Bosco Asiimwe, William H. Dow, and David I. Levine, "The role of price and convenience in use of oral rehydration salts to treat child diarrhea: A cluster randomized trial in Uganda," PLOS Medicine, 2019

Edward N. Okeke, Zachary Wagner, Isa S Abubakar, "Maternal cash transfers, quality of care, and maternal health: Evidence from a cluster randomized trial in Nigeria," Health Affairs, 2020

Zachary Wagner, Jeremy Barofsky, and Neeraj Sood, "PEPFAR Funding Associated With An Increase In Employment Among Males in Ten Sub-Saharan African Countries," Health Affairs, 2015