Alain C. Enthoven

Professor Emeritus, Economics
+1 (650) 723-0641

Alain C. Enthoven

The Marriner S. Eccles Professor of Public and Private Management, Emeritus

Senior Fellow Emeritus (by courtesy), Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford
Academic Area:

Research Statement

Alain Enthoven has published widely in the fields of the economics, organization, management, and public policy of health care in the U.S., the UK, and the Netherlands. In his research, he studies the causes of unsustainable growth in national health expenditures and the costs of health insurance, and possible strategies for moderating this growth while improving quality of care. His recent work is focused on integrated delivery systems and on the potential for exchanges to correct some of the main deficiencies of employee based health insurance.


Enthoven holds degrees in economics from Stanford, Oxford, and MIT. He began his teaching career in 1955 while an instructor in Economics at MIT. In 1956, he moved to the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica and participated in continuing studies on U.S. and NATO defense strategies. In 1960, he moved to the U.S. Department of Defense, where he held several positions leading to appointment, by President Johnson, to the position of Assistant Secretary of Defense for Systems Analysis in 1965. His work there is described in the book How Much is Enough?, coauthored with K. Wayne Smith and published by the RAND Corporation. In 1963, he received the President’s Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service from John F. Kennedy. In 1969, he became vice president for Economic Planning for Litton Industries, and in 1971 he became president of Litton Medical Products. In 1972, he was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and served on its governing council. He joined the Stanford faculty in 1973, and began teaching business policy and, later, microeconomics. In 1977, while serving as a consultant to the administration of President Carter, he designed and proposed the Consumer Choice Health Plan, a plan for universal health insurance based on managed competition in the private sector. Since 1980, his teaching has been focused on health care.

Enthoven is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is chairman of Stanford’s Committee on Faculty/Staff Human Resources. He has been a consultant to the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program since 1973. He has served as chairman of the Health Benefits Advisory Council for CalPERS, the California State employees’ medical and hospital care plans. He has been a director of the Jackson Hole Group, PCS, Caresoft Inc., eBenX, Inc., and Georgetown University. He is a member of the research advisory board of the Committee for Economic Development. He was the 1994 winner of the Baxter Prize for Health Services Research and the 1995 winner of the Board of Directors Award of the Healthcare Financial Management Association. In 2008, he was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Public Policy by the RAND Graduate School.

In 1997, Governor Wilson appointed him chairman of the California Managed Health Care Improvement Task Force. Commissioned by the state legislature, the task force addressed health care issues raised by managed care. From 1998 to 1999, he was the Rock Carling Fellow of the Nuffield Trust in London and also visiting professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and visiting fellow at New College, Oxford. He wrote the Rock Carling Lecture In Pursuit of an Improving National Health Service, recommending further introduction of market forces in the National Health Service. He and Laura Tollen recently edited the book Toward a 21st Century Health System: The Contributions and Promise of Prepaid Group Practice. From 2005 to 2007 he served as project director for the CED and project director of the CED and report Quality, Affordable Healthcare for All: Moving Beyond the Employer-Based Health Insurance System, published in 2007.

Academic Degrees

  • Dr. Public Policy (Hon), RAND Graduate School, 2008
  • PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1956
  • MPhil, Oxford University, 1954
  • BA, Stanford University, 1952

Academic Appointments

  • At Stanford University since 1973
  • Chairman of Stanford Committee on Faculty/Staff Human Resources, 2004–present
  • Rock Carling Fellow, Nuffield Trust, London, 1999
  • Visitor Fellow, New College, Oxford, 1998–99
  • Visiting Professor, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine 1998–99
  • The de Vries Lecturer, Rotterdam School of Economics, 1988
  • Visiting Professor, University of Paris, and Visiting Fellow, St. Catherine’s College, Oxford University, 1985
  • Instructor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1955–56

Professional Experience

  • President, Litton Medical Products, 1971–73
  • Vice President for Economic Planning, Litton Industries, 1969–71
  • Assistant Secretary of Defense for Systems Analysis, 1965–69
  • Deputy Comptroller and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, U.S. Department of Defense, 1961–65
  • Economist, RAND Corp., 1956–60

Awards and Honors

  • Ellwood Award, Foundation for Accountability, 1998
  • Director’s Award, Health Care Financial Management Association, 1995
  • Winner of the Baxter Prize for Health Services Research, 1994
  • Clifton Latiolais Honor Medal, 1994
  • The Creative Excellence in Benefits Award, International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans, 1993
  • Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1986
  • Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, 1969
  • President’s John F. Kennedy Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service, U.S. Federal Government, 1963
  • Rhodes Scholar,1952–54


Journal Articles

Alain C. Enthoven, Laurence Baker
Health Affairs
September 2018 Vol. 37 Issue 9 Pages 1425-1430
K. Arrow, A. Auerbach, J. Bertko, S. Brownlee, L.P. Casalino, J. Cooper, F.J. Crosson, Alain C. Enthoven, E. Falcone, R.C. Feldman, V.R. Fuchs, A.M. Garber, M.R. Gold, D. Goldman, G.K. Hadfield, M.A. Hall, R.I. Horwitz, M. Hooven, P.D. Jacobson, T.S. Jost, L.J. Kotlikoff, Jonathan Levin, S. Levine, R. Levy, K. Linscott, H.S. Luft, R. Mashal, D. McFadden, D. Mechanic, D. Meltzer, J.P. Newhouse, R.G. Noll, J.B. Pietzsch, P. Pizzo, R.D. Reischauer, S. Rosenbaum, W. Sage, L.D. Schaeffer, E. Sheen, B.M. Silber, J. Skinner, S.M. Shortell, S.O. Thier, S. Tunis, L. Wulsin, Jr., P. Yock, G.B. Nun, S. Bryan, O. Luxenburg, W.P. van de Ven
Annals of Internal Medicine
April 2009 Vol. 150 Issue 7 Pages 493–495
Alain C. Enthoven, Francis J. Crosson, Stephen M. Shortell
Health Affairs
2007 Vol. 26 Issue 5 Pages 1366-1372
Alain C. Enthoven, Laura Tollen
Health Affairs
September 7, 2005
Alain C. Enthoven, Brian Talbott
Health Affairs
2004 Vol. 23 Issue 6 Pages 136-140
Alain C. Enthoven
Health Affairs
May 28, 2003
Alain C. Enthoven, S. J. Singer
Health Affairs
1998 Vol. 17 Issue 4 Pages 95-110
Alain C. Enthoven, Sara J. Singer
Health Affairs
1997 Vol. 16 Issue 6 Pages 26-32
Alain C. Enthoven, S. J. Singer
Health Affairs
1994 Vol. 13 Issue 1 Pages 81-95
Alain C. Enthoven
Health Affairs
1993 Vol. 12 Issue 1 Pages 24-48
Paul M. Ellwood, Alain C. Enthoven, Lynn Etheredge
Health Economics
1992 Vol. 1 Issue 3 Pages 149-168
Alain C. Enthoven, Richard Kronick
New England Journal of Medicine
January 12, 1989 Vol. 320 Pages 39-37 and 94-101
Alain C. Enthoven
Harvard Business Review
1979 Vol. 57 Issue 1 Pages 38-49


Alain C. Enthoven
Edward Edgar
Alain C. Enthoven, Laura A. Tollen
March 22, 2004
Alain C. Enthoven
De Vries Lecturers
North Holland
Alain C. Enthoven, K. Wayne Smith
Harper & Roo

Service to the Profession

Advisory Board

  • Extend Health, 2007–present

Board of Directors

  • Integrated Healthcare Association 1999–present
  • Caresoft Inc., 1998–2001
  • Jackson Hole Group, 1992–1998
  • PCS Inc., 1986–1990
  • Georgetown University, 1968–1973


  • Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, 1973–present

In the Media

Insights by Stanford Business

January 13, 2017
Stanford’s Alain Enthoven cuts through the confusion and political rhetoric.
June 16, 2015
A Stanford scholar explains why we must break away from employer-sponsored insurance.
September 01, 2005
Research says proposals to move away from managed care would be a mistake.
November 01, 1999
In a Mayo Clinic lecture, a scholar explains the challenges to stemming out-out-of-control healthcare costs.