79060 - Fundamentals in Health Economics

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Good health and well-being

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

The course should enable students to analyse, according to the methods of microeconomics, the typical resource allocation problems involving health and healthcare. Teaching practice combines theory and institutional analysis with updated empirical evidence from the literature. At the end of the course, participants shall demonstrate knowledge about: 1) the peculiar economic characteristics of health and health care, 2) the fundamental trade-offs afflicting resource allocation in health and healthcare, 3) the way different Health Systems address these fundamental trade-offs. The primary purpose of the course is to examine the framework and analytical methods economists use to study the health economy and address key policy issues. Students need to be comfortable with basic economic tools (e.g., demand-supply, elasticity, marginal analysis, production functions). The principal method of learning is through discussion and written analysis.

Course contents

The course provides you with knowledge about:

  • peculiar economic characteristics of health care markets
  • market failures in health care and their causes
  • the demand for health care
  • health capital and health inequalities
  • economic aspects behind physician agency and supplier induced demand
  • key economic concepts and analysis about health care insurance markets (risk, risk aversion and demand for health care insurance; the behavior of insurance firms; moral hazard and demand-side cost-sharing; supply-side cost sharing and managed insurance; adverse selection, plan competition and the issue of renewability)
  • Governments' interventions in the health care insurance markets


Main references:

  • Bhattacharya, Hyde, Tu, 2014, Health Economics, Palgrave, McMillan.
  • Sloan Frank A. and Hsieh Chee-Ruey, 2012, Health Economics, MIT press.
  • Folland, Goodman, Stano, 2007, The economics of health and health care, Prentice Hall.

Further selected readings will be distributed during the course from: Journal of Economic Perspectives, Health Affairs, New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of Health Economics, ....

A detailed syllabus will be delivered to the students at the beginning of the classes.

Teaching methods

Lectures and class discussions

Assessment methods

The overall assessment consists of:
A) an ESSAY on an assigned topic
B) a computer-based WRITTEN EXAM (60 minutes)

The final grade weights A and B according to 35% and 65% respectively.

A) will be determined at the end of the classes. Retake might affect your final grade only via B).

Essay is a teamwork. Students will be sorted into teams. Each team will be assigned a “paper to start”. In one week, the team should draft an essay approximately 4.200 words long, frontpage and references excluded. Each team must send its essay to the professor and the teaching assistant by email within 1 week after assignment.

The computer-based written exam will be closed-book and administerd online. You will have 60 minutes to complete. Details (and a simulation) will be provided in the class.


Grades are expressed on a 18-30 scale and graduated as follows:

<18 failed
18-23 sufficient
24-27 good
28-30 very good
30 L excellent

Further details on the assessment metods and grading will be provided at the beginning of the classes.

Teaching tools

We will use Unibo e-learning platform (VIRTUALE.UNIBO.IT) for remote downloading of teaching materials and uploading of assigned teamworks.

Details on how to access the remote learning platform will be provided at the beginning of the course.

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Daniele Fabbri