ECH-11806 Economics of Health and Care


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Individual Paper1
Independent study
Course coordinator(s)dr. JAC van Ophem
Lecturer(s)dr. JAC van Ophem
Examiner(s)dr. JAC van Ophem

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

DEC-10306 Economics.

Continuation courses:

SCH-20806 Lifestyles and Consumption; ECH-22306 Economics of Consumption, Welfare and Society; ECH-30306 Economics and Sociology of Consumers and Households; MST-31806 Facility Management in Action.


Health economics is specialization within the field of micro-economics. Just as in any economic analysis attention is paid to benefits, costs, efficiency and equity of actions of economic agents. However, health and health care have some special characteristics, e.g. good health ranks high in preferences, information asymmetry, external effects, non-tradability of health.
The field of Health economics consist of two sub-fields: the economics of health and the economics of health care. Both field will be covered in the course.
In the economics of health attention is paid to the demand for health and the production of health, both at the individual (household) and the societal level. The human capital theory will be discussed, just as social and public health approaches that pay attention to the social benefits of health and illness.
In the economics of health care at least three sub-fields can be discerned: the market of health care, health care systems and policies and economic evaluation
The market of health care starts with a description of demand and supply in the health care industry, which has some peculiarities. The understanding of markets, market failure and the role of government in health care is very important in the health care sector. Various theories, like principal agent theory and new institutional economics will be used to analyse problems in this field e.g. supplier-induced demand, rationing methods from a consumer's perspective.
Health insurance- the role of private and social insurance-and health care financing deserves special attention and leads to various health care systems and policies and forms of regulation.
Economic evaluation consist of methods that can be used to establish the benefits, cost, efficiency and equity of health care interventions. Attention will be paid to issues and problems of cost benefit (CBA) and cost-utility(CUA) analysis.

Learning outcomes:

After having attended the course the student is expected:
- to understand the economic approaches to health and health care;
- to analyse societal issues in the field of health and health care provision;
- to apply health economics to defined issues in the field of health and health care.


- lectures;
- literature study;
- problem-oriented activities (assignments).


The student's performance will be measured in two ways:
- mark for the written examination on the contents of the lectures and the obligatory literature at the end of the course;
- a mark for the assignments;
The final mark is the weighted average of the two marks with some prerequisites.


Study Guide, Syllabus, Reader.
S. Morris, N. Devlin, D. Parkin, A. Spencer. (2012). Economic Analysis in Health Care. 2nd ed. John Wiley and Sons. 400p.

Compulsory for: BGMHealth and SocietyBSc6AF