Accessibility statement

Health Economics - ECO00052H

« Back to module search

  • Department: Economics and Related Studies
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Nigel Rice
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24

Module summary

This module will provide students with a comprehensive grounding in the economics of health and health care. Broadly, health economics is concerned with the allocation of scarce resources to improve health; the distribution of health in society; and how individuals make choices over health-related behaviours. You will use a mix of theory and empirical examples to explore these issues.

Related modules

Pre-requisite modules

Co-requisite modules

  • None

Prohibited combinations

  • None

Additional information

The module relies on reviewing published literature, much of which will have an empirical component. While a background in econometric methods is not a prerequisite, students without a strong quantitative grounding may struggle with the course content.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2023-24

Module aims

This modules aims to:

  • provide training in the use of economic analysis to problems and phenomena associated with health and health care.

  • develop your ability through the application of economic concepts to critically evaluate health systems, policies,, and decision making in health care

  • familiarise you with theoretical and empirical research methods in health economics

Module learning outcomes

On completing the module a student will be able to:

  • appreciate why health economics exists as a sub-discipline of economics

  • understand, evaluate and interpret the major theories and empirical work in the field

  • apply economic frameworks to problems and phenomena associated with health and health care and understand how these models are used in practice to inform policy debates

  • evaluate current health policies within a formal economic framework

  • recognise the various trade-offs between efficiency and equity in health and health care

Module content

Learning will be arranged around five themes, each supported with a seminar, together with introduction and revision lectures.

Module outline

  • Introduction to health economics (2 hours)

  • Theme 1: The economics of health behaviours (4 hours)

    • The demand for health, economics of obesity, taxation

  • Theme 2: Socio-economic disparities in health and health care (4 hours)

    • Equity in health, health care utilisation, waiting times and health care financing

  • Theme 3: Health system design (4 hours)

    • Health insurance, organisation of health care

  • Theme 4: Health technology assessment and pharmaceuticals (4 hours)

    • Methods for economic evaluation

    • The economics of pharmaceuticals

  • Theme 5: Global health (2 hours)

    • Global health and macroeconomic relationships

  • Revision lecture (1 hour)


Task Length % of module mark
Closed/in-person Exam (Centrally scheduled)
Closed exam : Health Economics
3 hours 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

Formative assessment will take place during the module baked on draft essay answers to questions posed to students. Questions will be provided for each of the five themes covered and students will choose which question and theme they wish to address. Questions will be set at a standard equivalent to the summative assessment.


Task Length % of module mark
Closed/in-person Exam (Centrally scheduled)
Closed exam : Health Economics
3 hours 100

Module feedback

Feedback will be provided in line with University policy

Indicative reading

Recommended reading will be drawn from a mixture of book chapters (primarily from two text on health economics), and published peer-reviewed papers. Examples include:

Text book:

Folland, S., Goodman, A.C., Stano, M. (2013) The Economics of Health and Health Care, Pearson, 7th Edition.

Zweifel, P., Breyer, F., Kifman, M. (2009). Health Economics, Springer, 2nd Edition.

Peer-reviewed papers:

Cutler, D., Lleras-Muney, A. (2010) Understanding differences in health behaviours by education. Journal of Health Economics, 29(1): 1-28.

Manning, W., Newhouse, J., Duan, N., Keeler, E., Leibowitz, A., Marquis, M. (1987). Health insurance and the demand for medical care:evidence from a randomized experiment. The American Economic Review. 77(3): 251-277.

Propper, C., Burgessm S., Green, K. (2004). Does competition between hospitals improve quality of care? Journal of Public

Economics, 88: 247-272.

Ruhm, C. (2012) Understanding overeating and obesity. Journal of Health Economics, 31: 781-796

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.