Health Economics
Fall 2012 GMU Syllabus

Economics 496-003 (#80350), meets Thursday, 4:30-7:10p.m, in Robinson B, Room 208.

Instructor: Robin D. Hanson, Associate Professor, Economics (,
Office Hours: Officially Thursday 3:00-4:15p, but I'm usually in at 10A Carow Hall. Email or call ahead (703-993-2326) if you want to be sure.
Catalog Entry:

Econ 496 Health Economics (3:3:0). Prerequisites: ECON 306. Determinants of Health. Supply, Demand, and Institutions of Health Insurance and Care. Evaluation of Market Failure Rationales for Regulation.
Required Texts:
Shannon Brownlee, Overtreated, Bloomsbury, 2007, ISBN: 1-58234-580-5. Sample price: $19.
Reccomended Texts:
Joseph P. Newhouse And The Insurance Experiment Group, Free For All? Lessons from the RAND Health Insurance Experiment, Harvard University Press, 1993, ISBN: 0-674-31914-1, Sample Price $27.
Sherman Folland, Allen C. Goodman, Miron Stano, Economics of Health and Health Care, 6th Edition, Prentice Hall Business Publishing, 2010, ISBN: 9780136080305, Sample Price $158.
Charles E. Phelps, Health Economics, Addison Wesley Publishing, 2003, ISBN: 0-321-06898-X, Sample Price $145.
Goal of Class
For undergraduates: To become familiar with basic facts and issues in health economics, and to be able to make an economically-coherent defense of one's opinions on health policy questions.
Assignments: Defended Opinion Topics
  1. Should we reduce medical subsidies to instead subsidize living with cleaner air: away from cities, and with better ventilation?
  2. Shall medical tax breaks be given only for neighborhood group plans, instead of employer group plans?
  3. Should all medical practice data be published, aside from data identifying patients?
Due Dates: Grade Weights: (depend on which class you enroll in) Class Participate 5%, 13% per Quiz, 13% per Defended Opinions, 17% final.

WeekLecture Topic
Aug 30 Overview of Health Economics
Sep 6 What Makes Us Healthy?
Sep 13 Does Medicine Help Health?
Sep 20 Health Externalities, Quiz
Sep 27 More Health Externalities
Oct 4 Medicine in Other Times and Places
Oct 11 no class
Oct 18 Demand for Health and Medicine
Oct 25 Supply of Medicine, Quiz
Nov 1 Health Insurance
Nov 8 Variation in Quality of Medicine
Nov 15 Licensure, Certification, and Bans, Quiz
Nov 22 Thanksgiving Holiday
Nov 29 More On Quality, Explaining Health Strangeness
Dec 6 Review
Dec 13 Final Exam

Lecture Readings and Sources

On the web, this links to a page of sources, most of which have links.

Disability Notice

If you are a student with a disability and you need academic accommodations, please see me and contact the Disability Resource Center (DRC) at 703.993.2474. All academic accommodations must be arranged through that office.