Health Economics
Spring 2005 GMU Syllabus

Economics 496 & 895, meets Tuesday and Thursday, 3:00-4:15pm, in room Science and Technology II, Room 15.

Instructor: Robin D. Hanson, Asst. Professor, Economics (,
Office Hours: Officially TT 4:30-5:30. But I'm usually in at 10A 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, 4th Edition, Prentice Hall Business Publishing, 2004, ISBN: 0-13-100067-5, Sample Price $93.
Charles E. Phelps, Health Economics, Addison Wesley Publishing, 2003, ISBN: 0-321-06898-X, Sample Price $94.
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.
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 we reduce medical subsidies to instead subsidize people to live where the air is cleaner: away from cities, and in better ventilated homes and offices. (Substitute Topic: Should we weigh people once a year and tax them for each pound they weigh more than a standard healthy weight for their age and gender?)
  2. Should medical advertising and information services be liberalized to allow the same variety of advertising and information services that we allow for most other kinds of products? (Substitute Topic: Should people be allowed to reimport drugs from other countries, like Canada, when those drugs are identical to drugs sold here?)
  3. 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%, 13% per Quiz, 13% per Defended Opinions, 17% final.
  2. 895: 1/2 of grade above items, 1/2 research paper.
WeekLecture Topic
Jan 25,27 Overview of Health Economics. What Makes Us Healthy?
Feb 1,3 No classes
Feb 8,10 More What Makes Us Healthy?
Feb 15,17 Does Medicine Help Health?
Feb 22,24 More Does Medicine Help Health? No class Tuesday
Mar 1,3 Medicine in Other Times and Places
Mar 8,10 Health Externalities No class Thursday
Mar 15,17 Spring Break
Mar 22,24 Demand for Health and Medicine
Mar 29,31 Supply of Medicine
Apr 5,7 Health Insurance
Apr 12,14 Variation in Quality of Medicine
Apr 19,21 Licensure, Certification, and Bans
Apr 26,28 Other Ways to Get Information on Quality
May 3,5 Showing That You Care

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,