Economics Spotlighted Student: Olivia DiRienz '20
For her thesis, Olivia will be conducting a national analysis on the effects of different provider payment models on utilization and quality of health care in an inpatient setting.
Raised in Clinton, New Jersey, Economics major Olivia DiRienz ’20 is a devoted lacrosse player. In her high school years she played on a travel team, during which time Haverford’s (at the time) lacrosse Coach, Lauren Wray approached her. Olivia had not heard of Haverford College, and Coach Wray’s warm, welcoming demeanor persuaded her to visit the College. During her high school senior year she participated in an overnight visit with the team and she “fell in love” with the team, the Coach and the campus. The blend of high-ranking academics, with Division III sports, and a small student body, clinched her decision to apply early decision. Olivia has played midfield for Haverford all four years, adamantly expressing that the team-bond has been one of the highlights of her college experience.
As she entered college, she was interested in studying business so she started to explore courses in economics. After taking Professor Saleha Jilani’s Introduction to Economics class, Olivia enrolled in more Economics classes, taking Professor Jilani’s Economic Development and Transformation: China vs. India in which she was exposed to the research component of economics. This class firmed up her decision to major in Economics. She has also taken advantage of the partnership Haverford has with the University of Pennsylvania by taking an Economics and Financing of Health Care Delivery course at Wharton Business School, enjoying the commute into the city, and exploring Penn’s campus.
Olivia also delights in the fine arts, where she has been honing her skills in sculpture, painting and printmaking. She points out that a Liberal Arts education introduced her to subjects and fields that she otherwise would not have considered exploring.
The fall semester of her junior year, she took classes in Copenhagen, which ended up being “the best decision!” The Professors were distinctly interesting because they work in the industry in which they teach, so the classes were experience driven. She learned some Danish, took a few courses in business and finance, and met many people – notably students from Dickinson College, who she remains close with today.
Summer internships have enhanced Olivia’s education. The summer after her sophomore year she worked for Moody’s Analytics in West Chester, PA. In the role of macroeconomic researcher, she focused on the opioid epidemic and its labor force implications. In fact, Olivia co-authored a market research piece on the impacts of the opioid epidemic on West Virginia’s labor force on Moody’s Economy.com. She also became proficient using STATA software, entrusted with cleaning and analyzing panel datasets. Additionally, she was awarded first place in an internship-wide team video competition promoting Moody’s brand!
The following summer she lived in New York City working for Moody’s Investors Service on the Sovereign Risk Team. Her focus was macroeconomic credit analysis, in the form of evaluating a government’s ability to pay back its debt, in order to facilitate the sovereign credit rating process. During this internship, she published her second co-authored piece, a sovereign credit analysis on the economic and fiscal impacts of U.S. student debt relief proposals. Once again, Olivia worked meticulously compiling, analyzing, and updating datasets, getting to know Excel very well.
For her thesis, Olivia will be “conducting a national analysis on the effects of different provider payment models on utilization and quality of health care in an inpatient setting. Health care expenditure continues to rise rapidly in the U.S. and is at a level of almost two times that of other developed countries, with one of the main reasons being high prices of services. As Medicare continues to be a thought leader in value-based payment model implementation, there has been a recent paradigm shift in how insurers contract their payment with providers. These value-based payment models, as opposed to the traditional fee-for-service model, specifically aim to improve quality while reducing costs. By changing the payment model from fee-for-service to a quality based and prospective payment system, it is very possible that providers will be incentivized to deliver the best value and volume of care. [She] will use data from 2010 to 2016 from the Nationwide Readmissions Database to complete [her] analysis. [She] is very passionate about studying market failures within health care, and this is just one that she feels she can analyze uniquely with an economic perspective. Her professor/co-advisor, Molly Candon PhD, at Wharton and her course, The Economics and Financing of Health Care Delivery, have inspired Olivia to pursue this intriguing and revolutionary development.” Haverford College Professor Saleha Jilani is co-advising Olivia’s thesis.
Post-graduation Olivia has accepted a position as Consultant at Deloitte in New York City, working in the Regulatory and Operational Risk division, where she will focus on risk mitigation. Congratulations Olivia!
Olivia has been a co-head of the Haverford College Republicans Club since her sophomore year. She has also been a Teacher’s Assistant for Professor Neal Grabell’s Financial Accounting course. Professor Grabell has been a significant mentor during her time at Haverford.