Zoë M. McLaren

Associate Professor

School of Public Policy and Department of Economics

University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC)


Curriculum Vitae

Faculty Webpage

COVID19 Op-eds

Dr. Zoë McLaren is an Associate Professor in the School of Public Policy and the Department of Economics at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and an Affiliate of the Health Econometrics and Data Group at York University.

Dr. McLaren is a health economist whose research informs health and economic policy to combat infectious disease epidemics including HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and COVID19 in the United States and abroad. She develops rigorous applied statistical approaches to answer important policy questions using real-world data.

Her work builds the evidence base in three key research areas: (1) the impact of health and economic policies to fight HIV, tuberculosis and COVID-19 globally, (2) the relationship between access to health resources and economic outcomes, and (3) the causes of persistent poverty.

She maintains a strong network of South African research partners at the Department of Health, Statistics South Africa, National Treasury, Human Sciences Research Council, National Health Laboratory Service, and the University of Cape Town.

Dr. McLaren was formerly an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Management and Policy at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and a Visiting Scholar at the Institute for International Economic Policy at the George Washington University Elliot School of International Affairs. She received her Ph.D. in Public Policy and Economics from the University of Michigan and her B.A. from Dartmouth College.


Associate Professor, School of Public Policy and Department of Economics, University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) (2018- Present).
External Affiliate, Health Econometrics and Data Group, York University (2016-present).


Assistant Professor, Department of Health Management and Policy, School of Public Health, University of Michigan (2010-2018).
Visiting Scholar, International Institute for Economic Policy, Elliot School of International Affairs, George Washington University (2017).
Research Affiliate, IZA Institute for the Study of Labor (2010-2016).
Faculty Associate, Center for Global Health, University of Michigan (2011-2013).


Ph.D. Public Policy and Economics, University of Michigan (2010).
B.A. Biology and Government, Dartmouth College (2000).


1000 Hilltop Circle
Baltimore, MD 21250

Tel: 410-455-3203
Fax: 410-455-1172
Email: zmclaren@umbc.edu


McLaren, Z. 2023. Everyone Wins: Vaccine Lotteries Can Cost-Effectively Increase COVID-19 Booster Vaccination Rates. American Journal of Epidemiology 192(4):510-513. - pdf

McLaren, Z. 2022. Data-driven COVID-19 policy is more effective than a one-size-fits-all approach. Med 3(10):660-663. - pdf

McLaren, Z. 2019. Coping with Intra-Household Job Separation in South Africa's Labor Market. Economic Development and Cultural Change 67(4): 757-798. - pdf

Bailey, M., O. Malkova and Z. McLaren. 2019. Does Family Planning Increase Children's Economic Resources? Evidence from the War on Poverty and the Early Years of Title X. Journal of Human Resources 54(4): 825-856. - pdf - Policy Brief

McLaren, Z, A. Sharp, E. Brouwer and A. Nanoo. 2018. The Impact of AIDS Treatment on Tuberculosis Detection at the National Level in South Africa. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 99(6): 1407-1414. - pdf

Sharp, A., J.T. Donahoe, J. Barocio, A. Milliken, S. Charalambous and Z. McLaren. 2018. Do Incarcerated Populations Serve As A Disease Reservoir for Tuberculosis? American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 99(6): 1390-1396. - pdf

Burger, R, and Z. McLaren. 2017. An econometric method for estimating population parameters from non-random samples: An application to clinical case finding. Health Economics 26 (9): 1110-1122. - pdf

Coetzee, E., Z. McLaren, L. Bam, K.H. von Leipzig. 2017. Reducing stock-outs of essential tuberculosis medicines: A system dynamics modelling approach to supply chain management. Health Policy and Planning 32(8): 1127-34. - pdf

McLaren, Z, A. Sharp, J. Hessburg, A. Sabet Sarvestani, E. Parker, J. Akazili, T.R.B. Johnson and K. Sienko. 2017. Cost effectiveness of medical devices to reduce mortality from pre-eclampsia in low-resource countries. Development Engineering 2: 99-106. - pdf

McLaren, Z, A. Sharp, J. Zhou, S. Wasserman and A. Nanoo. 2016. Assessing Healthcare Quality Using Routine Data: Evaluating the Performance of the National Tuberculosis Programme in South Africa. Tropical Medicine and International Health 22 (2): 171-179. - pdf

McLaren, Z, A. Milliken, A. Meyer and A. Sharp. 2016. Does Directly Observed Therapy Improve Tuberculosis Treatment? More Evidence Is Needed To Guide Tuberculosis Policy. BMC Infectious Diseases 16:537. - pdf

McLaren, Z., K. Schnippel and A. Sharp. 2016. A Data-Driven Evaluation of the Stop TB Global Partnership Strategy of Targeting Key Populations at Greater Risk for Tuberculosis. PLoS One 11(10): e0163083. - pdf

McLaren, Z., E. Brouwer, D. Ederer, K. Fischer, and N. Branson. 2015. Gender patterns of tuberculosis testing and disease in South Africa. International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease 19(1):104-110. - pdf

McLaren, Z. Equity in the national rollout of public AIDS treatment in South Africa 2004-08. 2014. Health Policy and Planning 30(9): 1162-1172. - pdf

McLaren, Z., C. Ardington and M. Leibbrandt. 2014. Distance decay and persistent health care disparities in South Africa. BMC Health Services Research 14.1 (2014): 541. - pdf

Levinsohn, J., Z. McLaren, O. Shisana and K. Zuma. 2013. HIV Status and Labor Market Participation in South Africa. Review of Economics and Statistics March 95(1): 98-108. - pdf

Moyer C.A., Z. McLaren, R.M Adanu and P.M. Lantz. 2013. Understanding the relationship between access to care and facility-based delivery through an analysis of 2008 Ghana Demographic Health Survey data. International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 122: 224-229. - pdf

R.G. Majelantle, K. Bainame and Z. McLaren. 2010. Knowledge and Risky Behaviours Associated with the Spread of HIV/AIDS Among Young Persons in Botswana. Botswana Notes and Records 42:121-133.

Banerjee, A., S. Galiani, J. Levinsohn, Z. McLaren and I. Woolard. 2008. Why Has Unemployment Risen in the New South Africa?" Economics of Transition 16(4): 715-740. - pdf


McLaren, Z. The Effect of Access to AIDS Treatment on Employment Outcomes in South Africa. - pdf

McLaren, Z., J. Bor, F. Tanser and T. Barnighausen. Economic Stimulus from Public Health Programs: Externalities from Mass AIDS Treatment Provision in South Africa. - pdf

McLaren, Z. Data-driven Targeting of COVID-19 Vaccination Programs: An Analysis of the Evidence on Impact, Implementation, Ethics and Equity. - pdf

McLaren, Z. Stormborn: Evaluating the Impact of Facility-Based Delivery on Health and Economic Outcomes Using a Machine Learning Approach.

McLaren, Z. Innovation in health and health care: The case of COVID-19 rapid tests.


McLaren, Z. The Math That Explains the End of the Pandemic. New York Times. 2021.

McLaren, Z. Hang Out With Your Vaccinated Friends. New York Times. 2021.

McLaren, Z. One-Size-Fits-All Mask Guidance Isn't Going to Work Anymore. WIRED. 2021.

McLaren, Z. The FDA's Decision to Pause J&J Could Help Defeat Covid-19. WIRED. 2021.

McLaren, Z. Why A Staggered Vaccine Rollout Is Better Than First Come, First Served. FiveThirtyEight. 2021.

McLaren, Z. Over-the-counter rapid antigen tests can help slow the spread of COVID-19 & here's how to use them effectively. The Conversation. 2021.

McLaren, Z. FDA authorized first over-the-counter COVID-19 test — useful but not a game changer. The Conversation. 2020.

McLaren, Z. No, soaring COVID-19 cases are not due to more testing — they show a surging pandemic. The Conversation. 2020.

McLaren, Z. Will the new 15-minute COVID-19 test solve US testing problems? The Conversation. 2020.

McLaren, Z. Rapid screening tests that prioritize speed over accuracy could be key to ending the coronavirus pandemic. The Conversation. Reprinted in Slate and Fast Company. 2020.

McLaren, Z. Las pruebas de detección rápida del COVID-19 pueden ayudar a frenar la pandemia. The Conversation. 2020.

McLaren, Z. Making coronavirus testing easy, accurate and fast is critical to ending the pandemic — the US response is falling far short. The Conversation. 2020.

McLaren, Z. What is a clinical trial? A health policy expert explains. The Conversation. 2020.


American Economic Association

American Society of Health Economists

International Health Economics Association
Population Association of America

Society of Labor Economists