Ted Joyce: Professor and Health Care Economics Expert Loves His Job
Ted Joyce, professor of economics in the Zicklin School, thinks that being a college professor at Baruch is “the best job in the world.” For one thing, research excites him. “There’s something about being able to explain the world with good data and good research design,” he says, that brings both clarity and aesthetic pleasure. Joyce finds teaching young people a privilege and has boundless enthusiasm for both his professorship and his research work, which is reflected in his academic resume. Since becoming a member of the Baruch College faculty in 1986, he has earned a pair of Baruch Presidential Excellence Awards, one for his scholarship and one for his teaching.
Joyce’s research deals with the economics of health care. In recent years he has done extensive work on the wave of state laws chipping away at the landmark Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion in 1973. It’s an issue that has polarized voters in the last decade and contributed to the so-called “culture wars.” Joyce’s current research, funded by the Robert Johnson Foundation and the National Institute of Health (NIH), centers on the impact of parental notification laws, the mandatory counseling of women who wish to terminate their pregnancies, and other delay and deny mechanisms.
At present, Joyce is in the midst of two major studies. The first looks at links between parental involvement and rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among teenagers and is being conducting jointly with Sylvie Coleman ’01, a CUNY PhD and one of his former students. The data is massive. “We have data by state, race, and age from 1981-2008,” Joyce says. He is planning to present his findings at a conference in November and believes that the results will be counterintuitive. Because the rate of STDs among teens is high in the US – far higher than in Europe – the issue has important public health ramifications.
The second study will look at the proposition that women’s lives changed dramatically once they acquired reproductive control via the birth control pill. Joyce doesn’t dispute its importance, but he argues that abortion rights were just as momentous, if not more so, in allowing women to delay marriage and child-rearing while acquiring more education and greater equality at work. New York State, ahead of Roe vs. Wade, made abortion legal in July, 1970. As soon as this happened, Joyce’s research indicates that “people came in droves” from other states in order to seek the procedure. “It wasn’t the pill that decreased fertility, it was access to safe, legal abortions in New York,” Joyce says.
In between research and teaching, Ted Joyce is also academic director of the Baruch/Mt. Sinai MBA in Health Care Administration. When not busy juggling all the responsibilities of his academic life, he likes to relax by reading cookbooks and whipping up meals for his family. Last semester, while on sabbatical, he traveled to Turkey, and while there, enrolled in a cooking class. “It was fantastic,” he says with characteristic enthusiasm and relish.