Health Economics
Spring 2004 GMU Syllabus

Economics 496 & 895, meets TT, 3:00-4:15pm, during Spring 2004, in room Enterprise 173.

Instructor: Robin D. Hanson, Asst. Professor, Economics (,
Office Hours: Officially TT 10:30-12:00am. 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, 4/e, Prentice Hall Business Publishing, 2004, ISBN 0-13-100067-5, Sample Price $80.
Charles E. Phelps, Health Economics, Addison Wesley Publishing, 1997, ISBN 0-673-99398-1, Sample Price $104.
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 $28.
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 subsidize alcohol, instead of taxing it?
  2. Should doctors, or other health professionals, be able to prescribe placebos?
  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
20 Jan Overview of Health Economics. What Makes Us Healthy?
27 Jan More What Makes Us Healthy?
3 Feb Does Medicine Help Health?
10 Feb More Does Medicine Help Health?
17 Feb Medicine in Other Times and Places
24 Feb Health Externalities
2 Mar Demand for Health and Medicine
9 Mar Spring Break
16 Mar Supply of Medicine - Old
23 Mar Supply of Medicine - New
30 Mar Health Insurance
6 Apr Variation in Quality of Medicine
13 Apr Licensure, Certification, and Bans
20 Apr Other Ways to Get Information on Quality
27 Apr 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,