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Frederick Zimmerman

Photo of Health Policy & Management Chair Dr. Fred Zimmerman
Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management


DepartmentsType of Faculty
Health Policy and ManagementFull Time
Contact Information

31-269C CHS

Frederick J. Zimmerman is an economist with a background in institutional and behavioral economics. His research illuminates the intersection of institutional or behavioral economics and the social determinants of health.

Dr. Zimmerman has a particular interest in how economic structure—including poverty and inequality—influence population health.  Dr. Zimmerman published one of the earliest agent-based models in economics, which showed how the poor managed assets so conservatively that they ended up with low returns.  Since then his research has focused on other ways in which economic status influences health outcomes.  Research topics have included the effects of media on child health; the effects of food marketing on obesity; and the opportunity costs of healthcare spending.  An emerging research interest is the political economy of health and social policy in Los Angeles County.

Dr. Zimmerman has taught classes on Advanced Statistical Research Methods, Determinants of Health, and Public Health Ethics. 

PhD, University of Wisconsin
Selected Publications: 
  • Zimmerman, Frederick J. "Habit, custom, and power: A multi-level theory of population health." Social Science & Medicine 80 (2013): 47-56.
  • Jeffrey C. McCullough, Frederick J. Zimmerman, Jonathan E. Fielding and Steven M. Teutsch. A Health Dividend for America: The Opportunity Cost of Excess Medical Expenditures. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 43(6):650-654. December, 2012.
  • Åsa Ljungvall and Frederick J. Zimmerman. Long-term Time Trends and Disparities in Body-mass Index among U.S. Adults 1960–2008. Social Science & Medicine 75(1):109- 119. July, 2012.
  • Frederick J. Zimmerman, Janice F. Bell. Associations of Television Content Type and Obesity in Children. American Journal of Public Health 100(2):334-3240. February, 2010.
  • Frederick J. Zimmerman. Using Behavioral Economics to Promote Physical Activity. Preventive Medicine Oct; 49(4):289-91 (2009).
  • Zimmerman FJ, Christakis DA, Meltzoff AN. Associations Between Media Viewing and Language Development Among Children Under 2 Years Old Journal of Pediatrics 2007 Oct;151(4):364-8.
  • Zimmerman FJ, Christakis DA, Meltzoff AN. Media Viewing by Children Under 2 Years Old. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. 2007 May; 161(5):473-479.
  • Zimmerman FJ. Agreeing on More than Chicken Soup: Intra-household Decision-Making and Treatment for Child Psychopathology. Review of Economics of the Household 4(3): 229-252. September, 2006.
  • Zimmerman FJ and Katon W. Socioeconomic Status, Depression Disparities, and Financial Hardship: What Lies Behind the Income – Depression Relationship? Health Economics 14(12): 2005.
  • Zimmerman FJ and Christakis DA. Children's Television Viewing and Cognitive Outcomes: A Longitudinal Analysis of National Data. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine 159(7):619-625. July, 2005.
  • Zimmerman FJ, Carter MR. Asset Smoothing, Consumption Smoothing and the Reproduction of Inequality under Risk and Subsistence Constraints. Journal of Development Economics 2003 (August) 71(2): 233-260.