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ECON.3450: Health Economics

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Health Economics: ECON.3450-201

This course will examine how economic analysis can be used to analyze health behaviors, health policy issues and the health care sector. The importance of this sector has increased dramatically during the last few decades and governments and citizens are facing the increasing need of understanding the unique aspects of the healthcare market. This class aims to help students becoming more informed future citizens and consumers or producers of healthcare.

During this course we will first review some basic economic principles and discuss the reasons behind the development of health economics as a self-standing economic field of analysis. We will then move do discuss specific topics to achieve the following main objectives:

  • To teach students how production theory can be applied to the study of the production of health both through an historical perspective and in modern days
  • To teach students how individual decisions regarding health behavior can be studied both within an investment and a consumption framework and how such study will explain the relationship between socio economic status and health status
  • To teach students the important economic concepts of moral hazard and adverse selection and their effects on the functioning of the insurance market
  • To teach students how the tradeoff between equity and efficiency considerations may affect government’s role in the health care market
  • To teach students some of the main features of the physicians, hospitals, long-term care and pharmaceutical sectors
  • To teach students the main features of the 2010 US Health care reform and of the 2006 Massachusetts health care insurance reform law.
  • To teach students the main differences between the US system and the health systems of other western economies and developing countries. 

Academic Integrity