The goal of this course is to bring together health and environmental economics as two narrow fields within the discipline of economics. This shall be done by identifying the interactions and intersections between health and environmental issues, describing the main economic properties that health and environment do have in common (market failure, externalities, government involvements…). This shall be followed by delineating the unique features of health and environment that make of them two distinct topics of study. Following this line of reasoning, the course shall, then, present two self-contained parts devoted to health economics and environmental economics. Each part shall present the workhorse analytical concepts and methods used by economists to explore specific issues relating to the two subfields. The course shall emphasize the use of economic evidence to identify priority issues and the most effective policies for health and environment. Examples and experiences of the kinds of topics that are addressed shall be provided all through the course.
Course outline :
Part I (4 hours) Overview : The links between health, environment and the economy
• Economic properties of health and environment
- What distinguishes “health goods” from “environmental goods” ?
- Typology of goods : Pure vs. impure public goods, private vs. publicly-provided private good, global vs. local public goods.
• The economic valuation approach :
- The theory of externalities
- Welfarism vs. extra-welfarism analysis
- Cost-benefit analysis, cost-effectiveness analysis, cost-utility analysis.
- Revealed vs. stated-preferences methods
• Government intervention and regulations
- Why do governments provide goods that are not pure public goods ? The case of health care services.
- What are the special characteristics and challenges of the “global public goods” ? The case of global climate change
- Rationing devices for publicly-provided goods (User charges, uniform provision, queuing).
- Efficiency conditions for public and pure public goods : Collective demand curve and provision of public goods.
Part II (7 hours) : Economics of Health and Health Care
• Overview : Health economics as a field of inquiry
• Health care market structure, conduct and performance :
- Do the law of supply and demand apply to health and health care ?
- What makes health and health care different ?
- Demand for health and health care : Health behavior
- Supply of health care : Production, provision and costs of health care.
- Health insurance markets : Public vs. private health insurance schemes, asymmetric information and agency, moral hazard and adverse selection.
• Reforming health care : Goals of reform, cost containment, efficiency and equity, extending insurance coverage, costs of universal coverage.
Part III (7 hours) : Economics of the Environment
• Overview : Economics and Environment :
- A framework of analysis, environmental microeconomics and macroeconomics.
- The environment as a public good.
- The global commons
• Ecological Economics and the Economic analysis of Environmental Issues :
- Valuing the environment, accounting for environmental costs, internalizing environmental costs, optimal pollution, the Coase theorem.
- Environmentally-adjusted national income accounts, the Genuine progress indicator, the better life index, environmental assets accounts.
• Environmental Health Policy : Impacts and Policy Responses :
- Measuring the economic cost of environmental impacts on health.
- Economic analysis and assessments of the performance of alternative policies in areas such as climate change, outdoor air pollution, water and sanitation.