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Economic Analysis and Pandemics

Module description

This module will focus on the economics of pandemics, from the past (e.g. the 1918-19 influenza) to the present (Covid-19) and the future. You will not only learn about traditional economic and public policy approaches to valuing lives, livelihoods and externalities, but also less traditional approaches such as measuring well-being, ethical trade-offs, interactions between ecological and economic systems and how to discount an uncertain future. Although the module focuses mainly on pandemics, its framework can also be applied to the economic analysis of other phenomena such as infectious diseases,nequality and climate change.

Full module specification

Module title:Economic Analysis and Pandemics
Module code:BEE3070
Module level:3
Academic year:2023/4
Module lecturers:
  • Dr Daniele Rinaldo - Convenor
Module credit:15
ECTS value:



There are no pre-requisites for this module but students without some exposure to economics, basic econometrics and rigorous analytical thinking may find they need to do some additional reading.



Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 1:


Module aims

This module aims to provide you with an understanding of how economists analyse global social issues that cross sectoral boundaries, with a particular emphasis on public health and infectious diseases. You will be able to separate first-order effects from lower priority considerations, and to apply economic reasoning to difficult problems which raise methodological, political, and normative / philosophical issues. The goal is not to produce a single correct answer to any given question, but to appreciate and be transparent about what data or other inputs are needed and what conclusions are likely to follow from various sets of assumptions or priorities. This will be accomplished through a mix of readings, lectures, tutorial discussions and small-group projects with presentations.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. critically review, analyse and make links between economic and epidemiologic approaches to pandemics;
  • 2. explain how economics complements and to some extent incorporates the potential contributions of other disciplines in the context of social welfare and health-related public policy;
  • 3. critically review and discuss a range of academic and non-academic papers reflecting on the full set of costs and benefits arising from different interventions or responses to disease outbreaks.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. critically evaluate and formulate a well-founded answer to a specific topical research-related question.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 5. deliver coherent arguments in written work;
  • 6. demonstrate analytical and critical thinking skills;
  • 7. work as a team to formulate strategy based on theoretical perspectives and empirical data.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity22These will be in lecture format
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity5These will be in tutorial format
Guided Independent Study123This will be in the form of directed reading in preparation for both lectures and tutorials

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Tutorial exercises 50 minutes1-6In class
Feedback on group & essay ideasas needed1-7Email & office hours

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Individual essay702000 words1-6Written comments
Group slides + oral presentation30Group slides + oral presentation (pre-recorded, 15 minutes)1-4,6-7Written feedback given to group members

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Individual essayIndividual essay (70%, 2000 words)1-6August/September Reassessment Period
Individual slides + oral presentation Individual slides + oral presentation (30%)1-4, 6-7August/September Reassessment Period

Re-assessment notes


Syllabus plan

  • Basics of economics and of infectious disease epidemiology / public health
  • Economic analysis of the impact of pandemics and of responses thereto
  • Ethical, normative, and policy prioritisation
  • Student group presentations

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Gans, Joshua (forthcoming). Economics in the Age of COVID-19, MIT Press
  • van Bergeijk, Peter A.G. (2021). Pandemic Economics, Edward Elgar Publishing
  • Rasul, Imran (2020) “The Economics of Viral Outbreaks”, AEA Papers & Proceedings 110: 265-8


Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

Suggested academic journal and other articles for each topic will be made available on ELE.

Origin date


Last revision date