Health Economics
Spring 2001 GMU Syllabus

Economics 496 & 895, meets Tuesday & Thursday, 3:00 - 4:15 during Spring 2001, in room Enterprize 174.

Instructor: Robin D. Hanson, Asst. Professor, Economics (,
Office Hours: Officially Tu/Th 2-3. But I'm usually in at 10b Carow Hall. Call ahead (703-993-2326) if you want to be sure.
Catalog Entry:

Econ 496, 895 Health Economics (3:3:0). Prerequisites: ECON 103. Determinants of Health. Supply, Demand, and Institutions of Health Insurance and Care. Evaluation of Market Failure Rationales for Regulation.
Reccomended Texts: (None are required.)
Sherman Folland, Allen C. Goodman, Miron Stano, Economics of Health and Health Care, Prentice Hall Business Publishing, 1997, ISBN 0-13-565987-6, Sample Price $67.
Charles E. Phelps, Health Economics, Addison Wesley Publishing, 1997, ISBN 0-673-99398-1, Sample Price $68.
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 $58.
(You can search for the lowest text price via ClickTheButton.)
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.
For graduate students: To in addition write a coherent research paper in health economics.
Assignments: Defended Opinion Topics
  1. Should cigarettes or fatty foods be taxed? (Take a position on both questions.)
  2. Should a Patient's Bill of Rights be passed? If so, what should it include?
  3. Should anyone be allowed to "practice medicine" on willing patients, or just "doctors" approved by the AMA?
  4. You may choose the last topic. Here are some health policy questions you might consider.
Due Dates: Grade Weights: (depend on which class you enroll in)
  1. 496: Class Participate 5%, 10% per Quiz, 10% per Defended Opinions, 15% final.
  2. 895: 1/2 of grade above items, 1/2 research paper.
WeekLecture Topic
16 Jan Overview of Health & Health Policy
23 Jan What Makes Us Healthy?
30 Jan Does Medicine Help Health?
6 Feb Health Externalities
13 Feb Demand for Health and Medicine
20 Feb Supply of Medicine - Old
27 Feb Supply of Medicine - New
6 Mar Spring Break
13 Mar Health Insurance
20 Mar Variation in Quality of Medicine
27 Mar Licensure, Certification, and Bans
3 Apr Other Ways to Get Information on Quality
10 Apr Medicine in Other Times and Places
17 Apr Showing That You Care
24 Apr Slack and Review

Lecture Readings and Sources

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

Misc Health Links

NBER papers on health

Yahoo on Health Policy

WebEc on Health Econ

Health Econ Places to Go

A Vision for Consumer-Driven Health Care Reform