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University of Exeter Business School

Health Economics

Module titleHealth Economics
Module codeBEEM014
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Xiaohui Zhang (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This unit introduces you to key conceptual frameworks and principles of health economics. It examines how both the UK and international health care systems are financed and funded. The unit will examine the core theories of supply and demand in health care, including the importance of information (and information asymmetry), the critical role of insurance, hospital financing and delivery, long-term care organisation, pay-for-performance schemes, private/public mix in finance and provision of health care, and economic epidemiology.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The principal method of learning is through discussion, analysis and, case study based learning approaches. This module equips you with fundamental health economics and public health knowledge, which is essential for working in the government and health related industries, such as health care providers.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. demonstrate competent knowledge of the health economics and public health;
  • 2. demonstrate competent knowledge of the key economic trade-offs implied in different healthcare allocation problems;
  • 3. demonstrate competent knowledge of the economic reasons behind trends in health care system development;
  • 4. demonstrate competent knowledge of the way different health systems address these fundamental trade-offs;

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. apply economic and statistical tools to concrete health economics issues that arise in the work place;
  • 6. critically evaluate a research design used to identify the effects of a health policy;
  • 7. provide policy recommendations to different types of market failure.

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. Demonstrate ability to give oral presentation;
  • 9. Demonstrate ability to communicate verbally.

Syllabus plan

  •  Essential microeconomics toolkit
  • Health economics: why is it relevant? What is so special about health?
  • Demand for health care
  • Demand for health: the Grossman model
  • Socioeconomic disparities in health
  • Population aging and its impact on health care cost
  • The labour market for physicians
  • The hospital industry
  • Economic epidemiology
  • Healthy lifestyle: obesity and its consequences
  • Cost and cost-effectiveness analysis
  • Cost-benefit analysis
  • Health insurance markets

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 Teaching22Lectures (2 hours per week)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching5Tutorials

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Tutorial Questions1 hour per fortnight1-9Verbal

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 Presentation4040 minutes1-9Comments after presentation
Essay502000 words1-7Comments in paper
Class Participation10Ongoing1-9Class attendance and discussion

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Individual presentationRecorded individual presentation (40 minutes) (40%)1-9August Reassessment Period
EssayEssay (2000 words) (50%)1-7August Reassessment Period
Class Participation Reflection of engagement in the module (700 words) (10%)1-9August Reassessment Period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

Peter Zweifel, Friedrich Breyer. and Mathias Kifmann, Health Economics, 2nd ed Springer

Frank A. Sloan and Chee-Ruey Hsieh,  Health Economics, The MIT Press

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

Jan Abel Olsen, Principles in Health Economics and Policy, Oxford University Press

Key words search

Health Economics, Public Health, Health Policy

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date