Health Economics (p)

Course content

Health economics falls within the umbrella of Public Economics. The course studies the interaction between health care providers, patients, governments and insurers. It evolves around the demand for health and health care, supply of health care, (asymmetric) information economics, economics of health innovation, health policy and public health economics. Hence, the course in Health Economics provides the student with solid knowledge about a wide range of health economic models and applications.


As an applied micro course, the student sees how fundamental issues in complex health economic problems and dilemmas can be analyzed using the toolbox of the undergraduate level micro courses.


The scope of the course is both theoretical and empirical, and closely related to practical problems in health care production, administration and social insurance. The course provides the student with a good foundation for administrative and analytical positions in various organizations in the health care sector.


In short, the course provides a thorough overview of: different health care systems including the Danish health care sector, “health” and aging as economic concepts, the fetal origins hypothesis, issues of asymmetric information in health insurance markets, health insurance and the demand for health care, health care providers and their incentives, and pharmaceutical markets.


Moreover, the course presents and discusses ideas of how state-of-the-art research handles identification issues in empirical health economics.


MSc programme in Economics – elective course


Bacheloruddannelsen i økonomi – Prioriteret valgfag på 3. år (angivet med et p)

The Danish BSc programme in Economics - prioritized elective at the 3rd year (symbolized by ‘p’).


The course is open to:

  • Exchange and Guest students from abroad
  • Credit students from Danish Universities
  • Open University students


Due to similar syllabus it is not allowed to register this course if the following course has been passed: "Health Economics" (AØKA08079U).

Learning outcome

After completing the course the student is expected to be able to:



  • Account for, discuss and criticize central health economic concepts and theories related to health behaviors of patients and professionals.

  • Account for traits of Beveridge, Bismarkian and US health care systems, identify determinants of variation in health care expenditure and relate them to outcomes.

  • Reflect on the identification issues in health econometric applications

  • Identify health economic trade-offs in the health care sector in Denmark and internationally.

  • Discuss health economic issues in a fairly clear and organized way and relate it to empirical findings.



  • Assess and extract relevant information from scientific papers in applied health economics.

  • Analyze specific health economic issues, from the perspective of an economic model.



  • Implement economic concepts into policy recommendation in the health care sector.

  • Develop and manage research designs in health economic applications

  • Combine or adapt general ideas and concepts to specific health economic problems under consideration and to participate carring through the solutions in relevant areas.

The lectures take an “active learning” approach in which students engage in activities during the lectures. The purpose is to let the students reflect actively on the issues under consideration at the given lecture.

Therefore, the lectures not only consist of classic lecturing, but also a lot of the time at lectures are dedicated to short student presentations and discussions, quizzes, padlet exercises, short written assignments and small group work that force the students to actively engage in the lectures. Many of these activities are based on online tools provided by, and absalon.

All students are expected to contribute to at least one poster session, where students in groups prepare and present a poster on a paper from the syllabus. Prior to the poster session the groups meet with the lecturer to ensure sufficient quality. There is sign up for the poster sessions at one of the first lectures.

Many activities result in written work that aligns and prepares the students for the final exam.


Health Economics, Jay Bhattacharya, Timothy Hyde and Peter Tu. Palgrave Macmillan.

Examples of Research Articles:

Select articles will be assigned as mandatory reading. The mandatory reading list will be announced at the beginning of the semester. Number of mandatory readings (beyond the textbook) will be between 1-3 articles per week.

  1. Smith J. 1999. “Healthy Bodies and Thick Wallets: The Dual Relationship Between Health and Economic Status.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 13(2): 145-66.
  2. Currie J, Moretti E. 2003. “Mother’s Education and the Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital: Evidence from College Openings.” Quarterly Journal of Economics CXVIII(4): 1495-153
  3. Cutler, D.M. and Lleras-Muney,  A., 2006. Education and Health: Evaluating Theories and Evidence. In RF Schoeni, JS House, G Kaplan and H Pollack (Eds.): Making Americans Healthier: Social and Economics Policy as Health Policy, New York: Russell Sage Foundation 2008. Published as NBER:
  4. Lleras-Muney A., 2005. The Relationship Between Education and Adult Mortality in the United States. Review of Economic Studies, 72, 189–221.
  5. Almond, D., 2006. Is the 1918 Influenza Pandemic Over? Long-term Effects of In Utero Influenza Exposure in the Post-1940 U.S. Population” Journal of Political Economy, 114 (August 2006), 672-712.
  6. Almond, D. Currie, J. (2011a). Killing Me Softly: The Fetal Origins Hypothesis. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 25(3), 153–172.
  7. Almond, D. Currie, J. (2011b). Human Capital Development before Age Five. Handbook of Labor Economics, Volume 4b.
  8. Black, Sandra E., Paul J. Devereux, and Kjell G. Salvanes, From the Cradle to the Labor Market? The Effect of Birth Weight on Adult Outcomes, Quarterly Journal of Economics (2007) 122 (1): 409-339
  9. Lindahl M. 2005. “Estimating the Effect of Income on Health and Mortality Using Lottery Prizes as an Exogenous Source of Variation in Income.” Journal of Human Resources XL(1): 144-168.
  10. Raj Chetty; Michael Stepner, ; Sarah Abraham; Shelby Lin, ; Benjamin Scuderi,; Nicholas Turner; Augustin Bergeron; David Cutler “The Association Between Income and Life Expectancy in the United States, 2001-2014” Journal of the American Medical Association, 2016; 315(16):1750-1766.
  11. Cesarini D, E Lindqvist, MJ Notowidigdo & R Östling (2017). The Effect of Wealth on Individual and Household Labor Supply: Evidence from Swedish Lotteries. American Economic Review, 107: 3917-3946.
  12. E Lindqvist, R Östling & D Cesarini (2020). Long-Run Effects of Lottery Wealth on Psychological Well-Being Review of Economic Studies, 87: 2703-2726.
  13. Person and Rossin-Slater, 2018, “Family Ruptures, Stress, and the Mental Health of the Next Generation”, American Economic Review , 108(4-5): 1214–1252.
  14. Black, S., Devereux PJ, Salvanes, K, 2016. “Does Grief Transfer Across Generations? Bereavements During Pregnancy and Child Outcomes.” American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, vol. 8, No 1. January 2016.
  15. Matsumoto, B (forthcoming) Family Ruptures, Stress, and the Mental Health of the Next Generation: Comment.
  16. Anderson M, Marmot M. 2012. “The Effects of Promotions on Heart Disease: Evidence from Whitehall.” Economic Journal 122(561): pp. 555-589.
  17. Buchmueller T, Jacobson M, Wold C. 2006. “How Far to the Hospital? The Effect of Hospital Closures on Access to Care.” Journal of Health Economics 25(4): 740-761.
  18. Currie J, Stabile M, Manivong P, Roos LL. 2010. “Child Health and Young Adult Outcomes.“ Journal of Human Resources 45 (3): 517-548.
  19. Bradley CJ, Neumark D, Bednarek HL, Schenk M. 2005. “Short-Term Effects of Breast Cancer on Labor Market Attachment: Results from a Longitudinal Study.” Journal of Health Economics, 24, 137-160.
  20. Cutler et al. (2006). The Determinants of Mortality, Journal of Economic Perspectives, 20(3), 97–120.
  21. Myerson et al. (2019). Does Medicare Improve Cancer Detection and Mortality Outcomes? NBER working paper:
  22. Einav, Liran and Amy Finkelstein, ”Selection in Insurance Markets: Theory and Empirics in Pictures”, Journal of Economic Perspectives—Volume 25, Number 1—Winter 2011—Pages 115–138
  23. Simon, KI. 2005. “Adverse Selection in Health Insurance Markets? Evidence from State Small-Group Health Insurance Reforms,” Journal of Public Economics 89: 1865-1877.
  24. Almond D, Doyle J. 2011. “After Midnight: A Regression Discontinuity Design in Length of Postpartum Hospital Stays.” American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 3(3): 1-34.
  25. Gruber J, Owings M. 1996. “Physician Incentives and Cesarean Section Delivery.” RAND Journal of Economics 27(1): 99-123.
  26. Currie J, Gruber J, Fisher M. 1995. "Physician Payments and Infant Mortality: Evidence from Medicaid Fee Policy." The American Economic Review 85(2): 106-111.
  27. Kremer, Michael. 2002. "Pharmaceuticals and the Developing World ." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 16(4): 67-90.
  28. Howard, David H., Peter B. Bach, Ernst R. Berndt, and Rena M. Conti. 2015. "Pricing in the Market for Anticancer Drugs." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 29(1): 139-62.
  29. Williams, Heidi (2017), “How do patents Affect Research Investments?”, Annual Reviews of Economics. 9:441-69
  30. Finkelstein, A., Gentzkow, M., and Williams, H. (2016), “Sources of Geographic Variation in Health Care: Evidence from Patient Migration” Quarterly Journal of Economics, (2016) 1681-1726
  31. Doyle, J. (2011), “Returns to Local-Area Healthcare Spending: Evidence from Health Shocks to Patients Far from Home,” American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 3(3): 221-243.
  32. Doyle, J., Graves, J., Gruber, J., and Kleiner, S. (2015), “Measuring Returns to Hospital Care: Evidence from Ambulance Referral Patterns,” The Journal of Political Economy, 123(1): 170-214.
  33. Laird, J and Nielsen, TH, “The Effects of Physician Prescribing Behaviors on Prescription Drug Use and Labor Supply: Evidence from Movers in Denmark” (working paper)
  34. Jensen, V.M. (2013): Happy Doctor Makes Happy Baby? – Incentivizing Physicians improves Quality of Prenatal Care, forthcoming, Review of Economics and Statistics, published online June 20, 2013.
  35. Simon, David, “Does early Life Exposure to Cigarette Smoke Permanently Harm Childhood Welfare? Evidence from Cigarette Tax Hikes” American Economic Journal: Applied Economics 2016, 8(4)> 128-159
  36. Siciliani L, Hurst J (2005). Tackling excessive waiting times for elective surgery: a comparative analysis of policies in 12 OECD countries . Health Policy 72: 201-215.
  37. Dobkin, C, Finkelstein, A., Kluender, R., Notowidigdo, MJ, “The Economic Consequences of Hospital Admissions”,
  38. Pedersen, K.M., Christiansen, T. & M. Bech (2005). The Danish health care system: evolution  - not revolution - in a decentralized system. Health Economics 14: S41-S57.
  39. Olejaz, M, Juul Nielsen, A, Rudkjøbing, A., Birk, HO, Krasnik, A, Hernandez-Quevodo, C. “Health Systems in Transisition, Denmark, Health System Review” ,Vol. 14 No.2 2012
  40. Sheridan et al. (2020). Social distancing laws cause only small losses of economic activity during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scandinavia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences:

It is recommended to have followed the courses "Microeconomics II" and "Econometrics I" or similar, at the Bachelor of Economics, University of Copenhagen, before attenting the course.

2 hours lectures 1 to 2 times a week from week 36 to 50 (except week 42).

The overall schema for the Master can be seen at KUnet:
MSc in Economics => "Courses and teaching" => "Planning and overview" => "Your timetable"

Timetable and venue:
To see the time and location of lectures please press the link under "Timetable"/​"Se skema" at the right side of this page. E means Autumn.

You can find the similar information partly in English at
-Select Department: “2200-Økonomisk Institut” (and wait for respond)
-Select Module:: “2200-E22; [Name of course]”
-Select Report Type: “List – Weekdays”
-Select Period: “Efterår/Autumn”
Press: “ View Timetable”

Please be aware:
- The schedule of the lectures can change without the participants´ acceptance. If this occur, you can see the new schedule in your personal timetable at KUnet, in the app myUCPH and through the links in the right side of this course description and at the link above.
- It is the students´s own responsibility continuously throughout the study to stay informed about their study, their teaching, their schedule, their exams etc. through the curriculum of the study programme, the study pages at KUnet, student messages, the course description, the Digital Exam portal, Absalon, the personal schema at KUnet and myUCPH app etc.

Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)


Students will receive oral feedback from lecturer and peers via poster sessions. Moreover, online quizzes provides immediate feedback during lectures, and small written assignments will receive general plenary feedback.

The course contains integrated office hours as preparations for student presentations.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination, 3 hours under invigilation
Type of assessment details
ITX-exam in the exam venues of the university.
The exam assignment is in English and must be answered in English.
Exam registration requirements

As a precondition to participate in the exam, students must give a group presentation of an article from the presentation list. The article is chosen in consultation with and with the approval of the instructor. The allocation to groups, and the format and the time of the presentations are announced during the course of the semester.”



No aids allowed at the written ITX-exam.

For further information about allowed aids for the re-examination. Please go to the section "Re-exam".


Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
for the written exam. The written ITX-exam may be chosen for external assessment by random sample.
Exam period


Exam information:

The exact time and place will be available in Digital Exam from the middle of the semester. In special cases decided by the Department, the exam can change to another place, type, day and/or time than announced. 


More information about examination, rules, aids etc. at Master(UK), Master(DK) and Bachelor(DK).



Same as the ordinary exam. 

No aids allowed during the examination.

Reexam info:

Exact type, day, time and place is available in Digital Exam in February. In special cases decided by the Department, the re-sit can change to another place, type, day and/or time than announced.


More info: Master(UK), Master(DK) and Bachelor

Criteria for exam assessment

Students are assessed on the extent to which they master the learning outcome for the course.


In order to obtain the top grade "12", the student must with no or only a few minor weaknesses be able to demonstrate an excellent performance displaying a high level of command of all aspects of the relevant material and can make use of the knowledge, skills and competencies listed in the learning outcomes.


In order to obtain the passing grade “02”, the student must in a satisfactory way be able to demonstrate a minimal acceptable level of  the knowledge, skills and competencies listed in the learning outcomes.


In this course the very good student demonstrates a deep understanding of the theoretical and empirical models presented in the research articles of the course, and is able to connect, combine or adapt general ideas and concepts to specific health economic problems under consideration. The student is able to refer to and extract relevant points form the academic papers from the syllabus, and relate them to the problem under consideration.


For successful completion of the course, the student demonstrates a reasonable (textbook level) insight into the underlying economic issues in the health care sector, is able to draw on basic modeling frameworks in analyzing such problems, and presents a discussion of these issues in a fairly clear and organized way and relate it to empirical findings and identification.




Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 42
  • Preparation
  • 161
  • Exam
  • 3
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 semester

- Go to 'Signup' for information about registration and enrollment.

Information about admission and tuition fee:  Master and Exchange Programme, credit students and guest students (Open University)

and venue:
- For teaching: Go to 'Remarks'.
- For exam and re-sits: Go to 'Exam'.
Department of Economics, Study Council
Contracting department
  • Department of Economics
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator
  • N. Meltem Daysal   (13-6f676e76676f3066637b75636e4267657170306d7730666d)

See 'Course Coordinators'

Please read "Remarks" regarding the schedule of the teaching.

Saved on the 24-05-2023

Are you BA- or KA-student?

Are you bachelor- or kandidat-student, then find the course in the course catalog for students:

Courseinformation of students