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Health Economics & Financing (CO7002)

Module Coordinator:               Dr James O’Mahony & Dr Steve Thomas
ECTS Value:                             5

The aim of this module is to give participants an understanding of the concepts, applications and techniques of health economics and financing. It aims to inform students of the relevance and tools of economic analysis as they relate to health, health care and health systems.

Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this module, students will be able to:

  • Describe and discuss the basic concepts, tools and techniques of economic analysis and their application to health and health care
  • Apply knowledge of the concepts of supply, demand and elasticity (with applications to health care financing and health promotion), the role of markets,  the  economics  of health  systems and health care financing and economic evaluation to global health

Module Content

  • Introduction to economics concepts
  • Supply of health care
  • Demand for health and health care
  • Markets and market failure
  • Economics of health systems
  • Range and features of health financing mechanisms
  • Techniques and tools of economic evaluation
  • Concepts and measure of equity

Indicative Resources

Core Text

  • McPake, Normand and Smith (2013) “Health Economics: An International Perspective” Routledge. 3rd Edition.

Other Core texts

Other Readings

  • McPake, B. User charges for health services in developing countries: a review of the economic literature. Social Science and Medicine, 1993; 36: 1397-1405
  • Vancelik S, Beyhun N, Acemoglu H and Calikoglu O (2007), “Impact of pharmaceutical promotion on prescribing decisions of general practitioners in Eastern Turkey” BMC Public Health. 7: 122
  • Målqvist M, Yuan B, Trygg N, Selling K, Thomsen S (2013) Targeted Interventions for Improved Equity in Maternal and Child Health in Low- and Middle-Income Settings: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. PLoS ONE 8(6): e66453. 
  • Normand C and Thomas S (2008) Health Care Financing and the Health System. In: Kris Heggenhougen and Stella Quah, editors International Encyclopedia of Public Health, Vol 3. San Diego: Academic Press; 2008. pp. 160-174
  • Witter S and Garshong B (2009) “Something old or something new? Social health insurance in Ghana.” BMC International Health and Human Rights. 9:20
  • Blanchet N J, Fin G and Osei-Akoto I (2012) “The Effect of Ghana’s National Health Insurance Scheme on Health Care Utilisation.” Ghana Medical Journal, Vol 46. No 2. pp 76-84
  • Lagarde M, Palmer N (2011), The impact of user fees on access to health services in low and middle-income countries. The Cochrane Collaboration. Published by JohnWiley & Sons, Ltd.
  • Stepurko T, Pavlova M, Gryga I, Groot W (2010) Empirical studies on informal patient payments for health care services: a systematic and critical review of research methods and instruments. . BMC Health Services Research 2010, 10:273
  • Folland, S., Goodman, A.C., and Stano, M., (2004), The Economics of Health and Health Care, Pearson Education – Chapter 17, pages 395-399 only.
  • McIntyre, D. and Mooney, G., (2007), The Economics of Health Equity, Cambridge University Press – Chapter 1
  • Williams, A. (1997), ‘Intergenerational Equity: An Exploration of the ‘Fair Innings’ Argument’, Health Economics, Vol 6, pp.117-132.
  • Sen, A. (2002), ‘Why Health Equity?’, Health Economics, Vol. 11, pp.659-666.
  • Rosa Dias, P., and Jones, A.M. (2007), ‘Giving Equality of Opportunity a Fair Innings’, Health Economics, Vol. 16, pp.109-112.
  • Williams, A. (1999), ‘Calculating the Global Burden of Disease: Time for a Strategic Reappraisal?’, Health Economics, Feb 8(1), pp.1-8.
  • McGuire, A. (2001), ‘Theoretical Concepts in the Economic Evaluation of Health Care’ in Drummond, M.F., and McGuire, A. (eds), Economic Evaluation in Health Care: Merging Theory with Practice, Oxford University Press.
  • Dolan, P. (2000), ‘The Measurement of Health Related Quality of Life for Use in Resource Allocation Decisions in Health Care’, in the Handbook of Health Economics, Elsevier.
  • Ryan, M., et al (2008) ‘The cost-effectiveness of cotrimoxazole prophylaxis in HIV-infected children in Zambia’, AIDS, Vol. 22, 6, pp. 749-757.
  • Weinstein, M.C. (2006), ‘Decision Rules for Incremental Cost-Effectiveness Analysis’, in Jones, A. (ed) Elgar Companion to Health Economics, Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • Briggs A. (2001), ‘Handling Uncertainty in Economic Evaluation and Presenting the
  • Results’ in Drummond, M.F. and McGuire, A. (eds), Economic Evaluation in Healthcare: Merging Theory and Practice, Oxford University Press.
  • Rannan-Eliya, R., and Somananathan, A. (2006), ‘Equity in Health and Healthcare Systems in Asia’, in Jones, A., Elgar Companion to Health Economics, Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • Anne Mills, John E Ataguba, James Akazili, Jo Borghi, Bertha Garshong, Suzan Makawia, Gemini Mtei, Bronwyn Harris, Jane Macha, Filip Meheus, Di McIntyre (2012) Equity in fi nancing and use of health care in Ghana, South Africa, and Tanzania: Implications for paths to universal coverage
  • WHO. (2010) Health systems financing: the path to universal coverage. Geneva: World Health Organization.
  • Wagstaff, A. and Van Doorslaer, E., (2000), ‘Equity in Health Care Finance and Delivery’. in Culyer, A.J., and Newhouse, J.P. (eds), Handbook of Health Economics, Vol. 1.

Lecture notes, additional materials and articles will be posted on Blackboard. Additional reading lists will be recommended before and after sessions.


Methods of Teaching and Student Learning
This module combines traditional lectures and e‐learning, alongside self‐study.  Each student will be required to work on an assigned research topic over the term to apply the principles taught in the module.  Formal interactive lectures, with group work, will run for two 1 ½ hours sessions.

Methods of Assessment
Assessment of this module will be done by written assignment set by the Module Coordinator.

Last updated 31 October 2017 School Web Administrator (Email).