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Economics of Health and Healthcare

  • Teacher(s):   M.Dusheiko (AR)   M.Huber  
  • Course given in: English
  • ECTS Credits: 6 credits
  • Schedule: Spring Semester 2019-2020, 4.0h. course (weekly average)
  •  sessions
  • site web du cours course website
  • Related programmes:
    Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Economics

    Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Management

    Bachelor (BSc) in Economic Sciences



Research in the field of health economics has led to significant insights and changes in the way society maintains the health of populations, organizes and finances the provision of health care services. The health sector, however, remains very complex and dynamic, as well as being an important priority for policy due to rapid increases in expenditures on healthcare, rapid technological development, and pressures to improve the productivity and quality of care. The sector is also highly regulated, with mixed public and private sector organisations delivering and financing healthcare services. The course provides important insights into how economic forces influence the health of populations, the costs and quality of health care services and the mechanisms for financing and organisation of health care.

The course contributes to the learning objectives of both the economics and management bachelor degree courses. The main goal of the course is to introduce students to the field of health economics by providing a broad overview of some of the topics and fields of research, through lectures, research papers, real world case studies and analysis of specific interventions. Management students would also learn about the operating environment and will also be able to analyse strategic behaviour of health care organisations in relation to the challenges of providing high quality health care services or innovative technologies. At the end of the course, students will be able to apply microeconomic tools supported by robust empirical evidence to understanding the special attributes of health behaviours and the organisation of healthcare markets. The course provides insights into the rationale and impacts of specific policy initiatives by governments as well as tools and methods to perform economic evaluations of technologies and health care programs.


The course will show how research in health economics has assisted our understanding of the behaviours of different actors in health systems such as consumers/patients, providers, insurers and medical technology companies with the resulting outcomes such as patterns of population health, healthcare use and cost, quality of health care, and financing through health insurance markets and different payment contracts for services.

We first introduce the economic view of health and health care, focusing on the concepts such as the economic determinants and demand for health and health care. We then look at the organisation and financing of health care systems, health insurance, competition in health care markets, the influence of payment systems on health care provider behaviour, and the economics of the pharmaceutical sector.

We will also focus on how the research in health economics has assisted our understanding of policy options in the health care industry. During the course, we will also discuss several important health and health care challenges for low- and middle-income countries and how they shape current policy approaches in Global Health. Finally, the analysis of intervention policies will be applied to specific health problems needing integrated and long term care, for instance in the context of mental health, diabetes, chronic and cardiovascular diseases.

The course will consist of lectures, case studies, class exercises as well as project work that cover key concepts in the economics of health and healthcare, and the organisation, regulation and strategic challenges facing actors in the health care sector.


Reading material will consist of published articles from economic journals and health economic field journals. But will also include wider literature from health policy, health services research and medical journals.
Case studies from various sources will be provided with supplementary reading to support the analysis of the case.
For the articles and case studies, see the lecture folders and reference lists to be posted in Moodle or on course slides.

There are a number of health economics textbooks that cover the main topics:

Phelps CE. Health Economics (4th Editions). Boston: Addison Wesley, 2012

Getzen TE. Health Economics and Financing (4th Edition): Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, 2010.

Feldstein PJ. Health Care Economics (7th Edition): New York: Thomson Delmar Learning, 2005.

Folland S, Goodman AC, Stano M, The Economics of Health and Health Care (8th edition): Routledge, 2017.

Jay Bhattacharya, Timothy Hyde and Peter Tu. Health Economics. Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (November 2013).


Basic knowledge in microeconomics and statistics/econometrics is an advantage.


First attempt

Written 2 hours
Allowed with restrictions
Allowed with restrictions

Participation (10%); Group Case Study Oral Presention (25%); Individual Written Report (25%); Final Written Exam (40%)

[ Calculatrice scientifique selon directive HEC ]


Written 2 hours
Allowed with restrictions
Allowed with restrictions

Students will have the possibility to revise and resubmit their individual written report if their course work grade was insufficient. Likewise group case study presentations can be redone if they fail to pass the evaluation.

[ Calculatrice scientifique selon directive HEC ]

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