Health Economics
Spring 2011 GMU Syllabus

Economics 496-002 (#12706), meets Tuesday and Thursday, 3:00-4:15p.m, in Robinson A, Room 208.

Instructor: Robin D. Hanson, Associate Professor, Economics (,
Office Hours: Officially Tuesday, Thursday 4:30-5:30p, Wednesday 6-7p, 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
Jan 25,27 Overview of Health Economics Snow Thurs
Feb 1,3 What Makes Us Healthy?
Feb 8,10 Does Medicine Help Health?
Feb 15,17 No class Tues, Quiz Thurs
Feb 22,24 Health Externalities
Mar 1,3 Medicine in Other Times and Places
Mar 8,10 Demand for Health and Medicine
Mar 15,17 Spring Break
Mar 22,24 Supply of Medicine
Mar 29,31 Health Insurance
Apr 5,7 Variation in Quality of Medicine
Apr 12,14 Licensure, Certification, and Bans
Apr 19,21 Other Ways to Get Information on Quality
Apr 26,28 Explaining Health Strangeness
May 3,5 No class this week.
May 10,12 Summary No class Thursday
May 17 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.