Economic policy leaders and researchers were kept busy in 2022 by high inflation, a volatile labor market, crypto crashes, and major legislation like the Inflation Reduction Act. We asked five Economic Studies scholars about important developments this year in their fields of study and developments that they expect in 2023.

The past year has seen dramatic developments in both mental health care and drug pricing. Concerns over mental health in the United States has- taken center stage. For example, the prevalence of mental illnesses increased over the last decade for the first time since the 1950s. That was largely driven by illness in children that more than doubled from 2010 to 2019. President Biden drew attention to the problem and sketched a vision of how to address it.

The U.S. Congress enacted the Inflation Reduction Act that established the ability of the federal government to negotiate prices for prescription drugs and established catastrophic protection against the costs of prescription drugs. These are historic changes in U.S. policy that will save American consumers and taxpayers tens of billion dollars.

Our work on mental health policy during 2022 has focused on three specific issues: the mental health of childrenthe system for dealing with mental health crises, and the challenges of integrating behavioral health into general medical care. Some key points made in that work are as follows.

  • The growth in mental illnesses in children pre-dates the pandemic and the factors driving that change are not well understood. Nevertheless, there are numerous evidence-based interventions that can prevent and treat mental illnesses in children and adolescents.
  • We propose that schools can play a greater role in identifying need and engaging children in treatment. Treatment services can be delivered by a range of providers by integrating behavioral health services into a variety of settings facilitated by improved support from the Medicaid program.

Read the full article about economic policy development in 2022 at Brookings.