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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Economics (ECON)

ECON 445W (H P A 445W) Health Economics (3) Economic analysis of U.S. health care system; planning, organization, and financing; current public policy issues and alternatives.

ECON (H P A) 445W Health Economics (3)

The healthcare sector comprises a set of markets that differ in some significant ways from the textbook model. In the US, this sector performs well in some respects and questionably in others. Notably, there has been sustained improvement over time in life expectancy and other indicators of the effectiveness of health care for most people, but the resources devoted to producing this improvement have been growing considerable faster than GDP. The goal of this course is to examine several broad questions raised by these facts.

The course begins with an overview of evidence on wealth, health expenditure, and life expectancy across countries, and then examines increasing life expectancy and medical expenditures in the US and their causes. Issues in measuring the value of medical expenditures are addressed, and an overview of the industrial organization of health care is provided. A major component of the course covers the economics of health insurance, and the course also examines medical R&D and the pharmaceutical industry as well as issues in the financing of medical care for the elderly.

The course seeks to introduce students to the economic analysis of health care. It is in the area of applied microeconomics, and deals with issues relating to labor markets and public finance, in particular. This writing-intensive course will be one of several 400-level W seminars that the Economics Department is seeking to establish, with the broad objective of exposing our advanced undergraduate students to economic analysis in a seminar setting requiring significant writing by the students.

The course counts toward the major and the minor in economics, as a 400-level course, In addition, it also counts toward a "module" (area of concentration) in human resource and public economics.

Student performance in the course will be evaluated based on three papers.

General Education: None
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: None
Effective: Spring 2008
Prerequisite: ECON 302, ECON 315 orECON 323

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


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