ECON30100 The Economics of Health and Health Policy

Academic Year 2023/2024

With people living longer and new medical treatments being introduced, the health sector is becoming an ever-more important part of the global economy. Policies towards the sector are a major source of political debate both in Ireland and abroad where controversies over the Affordable Care Act in the US and the National Health System in the UK are common. This module explains why the health sector is different from other parts of the economy and shows how to use applied microeconomics to test theories about how the sector works.

The module will focus on issues such as (1) How people make decisions about investing in their health: Do we invest more or less in our health as we get older? (2) Economic epidemiology and the economics of infectious diseases. (3) The health insurance system and demand for health insurance (4) Supplier-induced-demand: Do doctors always act in the best interests of their patients? (5) The role of economic evaluation in healthcare: Should expensive new drugs be available in the public health care system?

The theoretical foundation of each topic is presented, before working through empirical real-life examples of each.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

The general learning outcome from this course is an understanding of the relationship between theory and practice as it relates to health, and how applied microeconomics can be used to test major theories in health economics. The specific learning outcomes include:

1. An understanding of how people make decisions about investing in their health.

2. An understanding of economic epidemiology and the economics of infectious diseases.

3. An appreciation of the crucial role of information in areas such as health insurance and the doctor-patient relationship.

4. An understanding of economic evaluation in healthcare and how to apply such techniques as cost-effectiveness and cost-utility analysis.

5. An ability to review conflicting theories underlying the relationship between income and health.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Autonomous Student Learning






Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Module content is delivered through one 2 hour lecture per week. Self Assessment questions and problems are also assigned for each topic. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Recommendations:

(1) ECON 20010: Intermediate Microeconomics (or equivalent) is strongly recommended. This module assumes that students have a strong foundation in Intermediate Microeconomics.
(2) ECON 20040: Statistics (or equivalent)
(3) ECON10030: Introduction to Quantitative Economics (or equivalent)

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Class Test: Mid-semester test Unspecified n/a Alternative linear conversion grade scale 40% No


Examination: 2 hours 2 hour End of Trimester Exam No Alternative linear conversion grade scale 40% No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Students will receive their grades after assessments. Solutions to the assessments will also be made available.

"Health Economics" by Jay Bhattacharya, Timothy Hyde, and Peter Tu
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 Thurs 10:00 - 10:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 Tues 16:00 - 16:50