Honorary Appointments

David CullenAdjunct Professor


Phone: + 61 (0)2 6289 8028

Research Interests

The life time costs of health care and trends in the age distribution of health care costs, and their implications for health financing policy; and

How the ideas of mutual obligation, duty and mutual aid have developed over the course of human history and the implications of that development for the role of government in the financing and delivery of health and aged care services.


David Cullen


Chief Economist and Head, Strategic Policy Unit, Australian Department of Health
Adjunct Professor, NATSEM
Adjunct Senior Fellow ACERH (ANU)
President, OECD Expert Group on the Economics of Prevention

T: +61 4 6289 8028
E: david.cullen | at | health.gov.au

David is an Adjunct Professor of Health Economics and Aged Care Policy providing ongoing expertise and insight into the policy priorities of governments to assist researchers working on a number of microsimulation models being developed at NATSEM to contribute to the policy agenda in areas of ageing, health and care requirements, most notably APPSIM, HealthMod and CareMod.

With over 15 years’ experience in economic and statistical analysis in the Australian Public Service, David has an extensive record of applied research in health economics and broad experience at senior level in the Australian Department of Health in policy development for structural reform.

Dr Cullen is currently Chief Economist and Head, Strategic Policy Unit in the Australian Department of Health. His role is to provide the Australian Government with a system-wide and strategic policy focus on the long-term challenges facing government and the health system. He is principally concerned with the macro- and micro-economics of health, including the impact on individuals, with an emphasis on the major health care markets (and the interactions of public and private markets in health care services and health care insurance). He is also concerned with the social and economic feedback between health policy and wider social and economic policy.

In 2014, David was elected President of the OECD’s Expert Group on the Economics of Prevention.

Prior to taking up his current appointment, David was responsible for leading the development of the Australian Government's $3.7 billion "Living Longer' Living Better'" aged care reform package in the 2012 Budget.

David has graduate and postgraduate qualifications in mathematics and philosophy and has taught at the Australian National University. He is also currently an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Australian Centre for Economic Research on Health at the Australian National University.

His research interests include:

  1. The financing of health care and aged care, including the role of Government and linkages to other social welfare issues
  2. Macroeconomics of health care and aged care, including the capacity of health policy to contribute to each of the three major components of economic growth – population, participation and productivity.
  3. Microeconomics of health care and aged care, including the issues of allocative efficiency (the relative efficiency of the different health service delivery sectors and with a view to identifying the best balance of service provision types within the Australian context) and technical efficiency within sectors (and its implications for pricing)
  4. Cost and structural implications for the health care system of ‘future shocks’, including the changing burden of disease and injury 

Monographs and Chapters

Cullen DJ and Ergas H. (2014). Productivity and Efficiency in the Australian Health Care System. Canberra: Australian Centre for Economic Research on Health (in press).

Cullen DJ, Grey L and Lomas, H. (2014). The Australian Aged Care System. In V Mor et al (eds) The Challenges in Regulating Long-term Care Quality: an international comparison. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Cullen DJ and Ergas H. (2007). Providing and Financing Aged Care in an Aging Society. Canberra: Green Whiskers.

Cullen DJ. (2003). The evolution of the Australian Government’s role in supporting the needs of older people. Canberra: Australian Department of Health and Ageing.

Cullen DJ, Pearson M, Saha L and Spear RH. (1994). Establishing Effective PhD Supervision. Canberra: AGPS.

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