Victor Fuchs

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Victor R. Fuchs
Born31 January 1924 (1924-01-31) (age 99)
InstitutionStanford University
FieldHealth economics
Alma materColumbia University (Ph.D.)(M.A.)
New York University (B.S.)

Victor Robert Fuchs (born January 31, 1924) is an American health economist.[1]


He is an emeritus professor at Stanford University.[2] Since 1962, he has been a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and is the co-director of the FRESH-Thinking Project and CASBS at Stanford University.[3] Fuchs was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1982[4] and to the American Philosophical Society in 1990. In 1995, he served as president of the American Economic Association.[5] In 2001, he was recipient of the John R. Commons Award, given by the economics honor society Omicron Delta Epsilon.[6]

Relative poverty rate[edit]

Fuchs is credited with introducing the relative poverty rate, calculated as the fraction of members of a society earning less than 50% of the median income.[7][8]

Comparison of healthcare in Canada and US[edit]

In 1990 Fuchs published a paper together with James S. Hahn, entitled How Does Canada Do it? – A comparison of Expenditures for Physicians' Services in the United States and Canada. It discusses the differences in the Canadian and US healthcare spending patterns and also discusses why healthcare expenditures are so much higher in the United States. Fuchs and Hahn found that the higher US expenditures were entirely based on 234 percent higher fees for services than Canada even though there are more physicians per capita in Canada. That shows that the typical view of Canada saving money by delivering fewer services is false and that the insurance setup, being a single-payer system, is what gives it the edge.[9]

Differences between the United States and Canada on fees, spending, and use are shown. The accentuating difference begins with the disparity in health care coverage. Canada operates under a universal health care system, which covers majority of their residents. On the other hand, the United States operates under a fragmented multi-payer system that fails to provide coverage for many Americans.[10] Moreover, the lack of correspondence between both countries regarding health care coverage validates part of the narrative reported in the study, which concluded that the US spent more on physicians' services than Canada.[9]

Furthermore, the study also suggests that higher expenditures in the US is a function of many factors including higher wages earned by US physicians, the difference of physicians on demand, billing costs, quality of health care, physicians' workload, and superfluous amenities. Notably, the factors bring to question the underlying differences in health care delivery, and the authors reported more general practitioners in Canada per capita. The limited role of general practitioners in the US compared to Canada may imply that Canadian physicians are "more inclined to recommend additional evaluation and management services."[9]

Published books[edit]

  • Who Shall Live? Health, Economics, and Social Choice (1975)
  • The Future of Health Policy (1998)


  1. ^ "Curriculum Vitae VICTOR R. FUCHS" (PDF). Stanford Education. Retrieved 9 March 2021.
  2. ^ "FSI | CHP/PCOR - Victor R. Fuchs".
  3. ^ "Fresh Thinking Project".
  4. ^ List of active members by class, 24 October 2014
  5. ^ "American Economic Association".
  6. ^ "Omicron Delta Epsilon - The International Economics Honor Society".
  7. ^ Foster, James E. (1998). "Absolute versus Relative Poverty". The American Economic Review. 88 (2): 335–341. ISSN 0002-8282. JSTOR 116944.
  8. ^ "Redefining Poverty and Redistributing Income - ProQuest". Retrieved 2020-02-20.
  9. ^ a b c Victor Fuchs & James S. Hahn (27 September 1990). "How does Canada do it? – A comparison of expenditures for physicians' services in the United States and Canada". The New England Journal of Medicine. 323 (13): 884–890. doi:10.1056/NEJM199009273231306. PMID 2118594.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  10. ^ "Comparing international health care systems". PBS Newshour. PBS. 6 October 2009.