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363-1027-00L  Introduction to Health Economics and Policy

SemesterAutumn Semester 2016
LecturersW. Mimra
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish


AbstractHealth expenditures constitute about 10% of GDP in OECD countries. Extensive government intervention is a typical feature in health markets. Risk factors to health have been changing with growing importance of lifestyle factors such as smoking, obesity and lack of physical activity. This course gives an introduction to the economic concepts and empirical findings in health economics.
ObjectiveIntroduce students without prior economics background to the main concepts of health economics and policy to enhance students understanding of how health care institutions and markets function.
ContentThe course gives an introduction to the economic concepts and empirical findings in health economics to enhance students understanding of how health care institutions and markets function. First, the three important decisions made by individuals will be analyzed: What determines the health behaviors, like the intensity of preventive measures like sport, that an individual undertakes? What types and amount of personal health care services does an individual demand? How much health insurance coverage will be purchased?
In a second part, the major participants on the supply side of health care markets - physicians, hospitals, nurses and pharmaceutical manufacturers - will be discussed. E.g., how important are financial incentives in the choice of medicine as a career, specialty choice and practice location? What does it mean and imply that a physician is an agent for a patient? How do pharmaceutical firms decide on investments in new products and how can public policy encourage pharmaceutical innovation?
The choices made by societies about how health care services are financed and about the types of organizations that supply health care will be addressed in a third part. One important choice is whether a country will rely on public financing of personal health care services or encourage private health insurance markets. How could and should a public health insurance system be designed? What health care services should be included or excluded from a public system? Another important choice is whether a society relies on government provision of health care services, private provision by not-for-profit or for-profit organizations or some combination. The advantages and disadvantages of the alternatives will be discussed to provide a framework for analyzing specific types of health care systems.
LiteratureJay Bhattacharya, Timothy Hyde, Peter Tu, "Health Economics", Palgrave Macmillan.
Frank A. Sloan and Chee-Ruey Hsieh, "Health Economics", MIT Press.