You are here

Alain C. Enthoven

Alain C. Enthoven
Professor Emeritus, Economics
Contact Info
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

Professor Alain Enthoven has published widely in the fields of the economics, organization, management and public policy of health care in the U.S.A., the U.K. 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.


Professor 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 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 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.

Professor 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 healthcare issues raised by managed care. In 1998-99, he was the Rock Carling Fellow of the Nuffield Trust in London and also Visiting Professor at the London School of Hygene 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 2005-2007 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, 1998-1999
  • Visiting Professor, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine 1998-1999
  • The de Vries Lecuturer, 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, 1955-1956

Professional Experience

  • President, Litton Medical Products, 1971-1973
  • Vice President for Economic Planning, Litton Industries, 1969-1971
  • Assistant Secretary of Defense for Systems Analysis, 1965-1969
  • Deputy Comptroller and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, U.S. Department of Defense, 1961-1965
  • Economist, RAND Corp., 1956-1960

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,1952-1954


Journal Articles

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 UK: Edward Edgar, 2012.
Alain C. Enthoven, Laura A. Tollen Jossey-Bass, March 22, 2004.
Alain C. Enthoven North Holland: De Vries Lecturers, 1988.
Alain C. Enthoven, K. Wayne Smith Harper & Roo, 1971.

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

New York Times, December 18, 2004
Cutting-edge Health Care Lagging
The Argus, May 2003
Los Angeles Times, February 22, 2002
Los Angeles Times, 12 14, 2001
New York Times, December 9, 2001
New York Times, July 30, 2000
Pitching Health Care for All Kids
San Jose Mercury, July 2000
USA Today, November 20, 1999
Time to Pull the Plug on Managed Care?
The Boston Globe, January 1999
Managed Care: What Went Wrong? Can It Be Fixed?
USA Today, January 1999
Rx for the Health Care System
Wall Street Journal, January 1998

Insights by Stanford Business

June 16, 2015
A Stanford scholar explains why we must break away from employer-sponsored insurance.
September 1, 2005
Research says proposals to move away from managed care would be a mistake.
November 1, 1999
In a Mayo Clinic lecture, a scholar explains the challenges to stemming out-out-of-control healthcare costs.