Health Economics

Faculty Lead: Will Dow

The Health Economics specialty field draws on economics, mathematics, statistics, and epidemiology to understand the causal relationship between different aspects of health and the health care sector. With an emphasis on quantifying relationships, health economics covers a broad range of study areas, including health production, demand & supply of health services, healthcare financing, behavioral responses to institutional or policy incentives, policy evaluations, and other efficiency and equity issues surrounding health.

Core Requirements

PH 237A,B    Theories and Methods in Health Policy and Health Services Research
PH 237C      Health Services Research Colloquium (Years 1 and 2)
PH 237D      Health Policy Dissertation Seminar (Year 3+)

Interdisciplinary Requirement

Three courses in one or more of the following areas: 1) Organizations and Management, 2) Population Health Sciences, and/or 3) Politics and Policy.

Specialty Field Requirements

Health Economics students must take ECON 201A and a minimum of four specialty field electives.

Core (1 course)
ECON 201A**    Economic Theory

**ECON 204: Math for Economists (Summer) is required prior to taking ECON 201A if student has not completed an introductory course in real analysis.

Elective (4 courses)
ECON 201B          Economic Theory
ECON 219A          Foundations of Psychology and Economics
ECON 219B          Applications of Psychology and Economics
ECON 220A,B       Industrial Organization
ECON 230A,B       Public Economics
ECON 250A,B,C   Labor Economics
ECON 270A,B,C   Development Economics
ECON 275A          Economic Demography
PP 251                 Microeconomic Organization & Policy Analysis
PP 259                 Cost-Benefit Analysis
Research Methods

Three of the following:

ARE 212***        Econometrics: Multiple Equation Estimation
ARE 213            Applied Econometrics
ECON 244         Applied Econometrics
PH 252D            Intro to Causal Inference
PH 245              Intro to Multivariate Public Health Statistics
PH C242C         Longitudinal Data Analysis
PH 241              Statistical Analysis of Categorical Data
PH 250B            Epidemiologic Methods II
PS 236              Statistics of Causal Inference in the Social Sciences

*** ARE 212/213 require a background in linear algebra and differential equations, so students entering without this background should take Math 54 in Year 1.

Health Economics students are generally accountable for the content of the Handbook of Health Economics (edited by Anthony J. Culyer and Joseph P. Newhouse) for the specialty field exam, with specific sections of emphasis determined each year by the examining committee depending on the students’ sub-fields.  The exam requirements consist of core material required of all students and one of five areas chosen by each student.  In order to prepare, students are required to take 2 PhD-level courses in the economics department in one of these fields: Behavioral economics (Econ 219A/B), Industrial organization (Econ 220A/B), Public economics (Econ 230A/B), Labor economics (Econ 250A/B/C), or Development/demography (Econ 270A/B/C, Econ 275). The exam will be based on material covered in these classes, but will be in the context of health issues.