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Health economic theory

Below you will find information about the course

How to start

  • 1. Your offer

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  • 2. Activate your user account and MFA

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    If you are a new student, you will automatically receive a user account when you are admitted, but you will need to activate it for it to function properly. You will not be able to activate it until approximately two weeks prior to the start of the semester.

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  • 3. Course registration

    The course starts off with registration and introduction. You need to be registered on the course in the study documentation system in order to be able to follow the course and to get your results registered during the course. If you are unable to attend during the registration and introduction, you need to contact the study administrator Angelica Johansson in advance, or else you risk losing your place (seat) at the course/programme.

    It’s not possible to self-register online for this course.
    In order to get registered you need to attend the mandatory roll call at 09:00 am October 2.

  • 4. Course start

    Wednesday. October 2

    Time: 09:00

    Location: SAM.A.233


About the course

  • Course structure

    The course starts on Wednesday 2nd October 2024 at 9 am in Room SAM.A.233, in the Social Sciences building, see link above. You must contact the course administrator beforehand if you are not able to attend the first session.

    A preliminary course schedule is attached. The course runs from Wednesday 2nd October until Thursday 31st October 2024. Teaching is concentrated to the period between 2nd October – 25th October. 

    Teaching and examination takes place in person on campus.

    The examination has three parts: a literature seminar on Friday 11th October, presentation of group work on Friday 25th October, and a written exam at the end of the course, with a preliminary date Thursday 31st October. 

    All changes to the schedule will be communicated through the Canvas course site, which you get access to after the first session.

    There is no course textbook. Essential course materials are listed below. Information about the reading for the literature seminar will be provided on the first course day.

    The course is jointly organised by the Department of Epidemiology and Global Health and the Department of Economics. Health Economic Theory is a core module for two programmes: the MSc in Public Health with a Specialization in Health Economics, and the MSc in Economics with a profile in Health Economics.

    Essential course materials are given below. Other materials will be distributed during the course.

    Group work

    Chapter 9 (Infectious diseases), 11 (Mental health) or 24 (Long-term care) in S. Glied and P.C. Smith (eds)(2011): The Oxford Handbook of Health Economics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Teacher Curt Löfgren

    Literature and databases.
    All the material below is found on the Canvas course site except for the book Introduction to health economics, which may be retrieved as an e-book at Umeå University Library. For the databases web-addresses are given.

    1. Health financing intro and group work  Databases:

    WHO. Global health expenditure database


    World Bank DataBank


    World Bank. Health equity and financial protection indicators (HEFPI)


    2. Health financing transition
    Fan VY & Savedoff WD. The health financing transition: A conceptual framework and empirical evidence. Social Science & Medicine 105 (2014) 112-121.

    Global Burden of Disease Health Financing Collaborator Network. Trends in future health financing and coverage: future health spending and universal health coverage in 188 countries, 2016–40. Lancet 2018; 391: 1783–98

    Xu K, Soucat A & Kutzin J et al. Public Spending on Health: A Closer Look at Global Trends. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2018

    3 - 4. Health financing methods –overview Economics and health systems
    International Labour Organization. Social Protection Platform. Theme: Pros and cons of key financing mechanisms for social health protection. Retrieved at https://www.social-protection.org/gimi/gess/ShowTheme.action;jsessionid=wAhUcUDp6UdsOqxd1R_M4ivUL_cZ5lnX37ssewQVyQ5hShKSqDEA!1237561900?id=3108&lang=EN

    Wiseman V. Key concepts in health economics. Ch_1 in Guiness L and Wiseman V. Introduction to health economics. Maidenhead, GB: Open University Press, 2011.
    (May be retrieved as an e-book at Umeå University Library, www.ub.umu.se )

    5. Out-of-pocket payments
    Wagstaff A et al. Progress on catastrophic health spending in 133 countries: a retrospective observational study. Lancet Glob Health 2018; 6: e169–79

    6. Public sector financing
    Excerpt from Blomqvist Å. Public-sector Health Care Financing. CH#12 in Glied S & Smith PC. The Oxford Handbook of Health Economics. Oxford University Press. 2011

    Habib et al. The role of micro health insurance in providing financial risk protection in developing countries- a systematic review. BMC Public Health (2016) 16:281.

    7. Private health insurance
    Ozawa S. Private health insurance. Ch_11 in Guiness L and Wiseman V. Introduction to health economics. Maidenhead, GB: Open University Press, 2011.
    (May be retrieved as an e-book at Umeå University Library, www.ub.umu.se )

    Mathauer I & Nicolle E. A global overview of health insurance administrative costs: what are the reasons for variations found? Health Policy 102 (2011) 235-246.-

    Teacher David Granlund

    1.       Bolin, K., Lindgren, B., Lindström, M. and Nystedt, P., 2003. Investments in social capital—implications of social interactions for the production of health. Social science & medicine, 56(12), pp.2379-2390.

    2.      Grossman, M. (1972): On the concept of health capital and the demand for health. J. Polit. Econ. 80 (2), 223–255. Only read the introduction (pp223-225) and section V. Summary and Conclusions (pp. 246-248) in the paper.

    3.       Kemptner, D., Jürges, H. and Reinhold, S., 2011. Changes in compulsory schooling and the causal effect of education on health: Evidence from Germany. Journal of health economics, 30(2), pp.340-354.

    4.      Jayachandran, S. and Kuziemko, I., 2011. Why do mothers breastfeed girls less than boys? Evidence and implications for child health in India. The Quarterly journal of economics, 126(3), pp.1485-1538.

    5.      Strauss, J. and Thomas, D., 1998. Health, nutrition, and economic development. Journal of economic literature, 36(2), pp.766-817.


    Teacher Anni-Maria Pulkki-Brännström

    1.       Ch 8. ‘Healthcare markets and efficiency’, in Guiness L and Wiseman V. Introduction to health economics. Maidenhead, GB: Open University Press, 2011.

    2.      pp 1- 25 in: C. Cashin, ed. Assessing Health Provider Payment Systems: A Practical Guide for Countries Working Toward Universal Health Coverage. Joint Learning Network for Universal Health Coverage, 2015. https://www.jointlearningnetwork.org/resources/assessing-health-provider-payment-systems-a-practical-guide-for-countries-w/

    3.      Yip, W. (July 2017) Aligning provider payment incentives to leverage service delivery change. iHEA Boston Congress Special Organized Session: Social Experiments on Financing and Payment Options. First 33 minutes of the session. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6fmGOqZiHs

    4.       Eckhardt, H., P. Smith, W Quentin (2019): Pay for Quality: using financial incentives to improve quality of care. Ch 14 in: Busse, Klazinga, Panteli and Quentin (eds.): Improving healthcare quality in Europe. Characteristics, effectiveness and implementation of different strategies. European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies. Health Policy Series 53. Available from: https://eurohealthobservatory.who.int/publications/i/improving-healthcare-quality-in-europe-characteristics-effectiveness-and-implementation-of-different-strategies-study

    5.       Anell, A. (2011) Choice and privatisation in Swedish primary care. Health Economics, Policy and Law 6:549-569.


  • Learning platform

    In this course, we use the learning platform Canvas. There you will find for example course schedule, instructions for exercises during the course and messages from the teachers. In order to get access to the learning platform, you sign in using your Umu-id. You will get access to the Canvas site (Health Economic Theory) after the first day of the course. If you are not able to attend on the first day it's important that you let us know.

  • Registration and Umu-id

    It’s not possible to self-register online for this course.
    In order to get registered you need to attend the mandatory roll call at 09:00 am October 2.

    In order to access the central IT systems at Umeå University, you need a user account, an Umu-id. You will receive a user account after you have been admitted to studies at Umeå University, and you will need to activate it before you can use it to sign in. https://www.umu.se/en/student/we-can-assist-you/it-services/umu-id/ 


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    To the checklist for admitted Students

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    More about the Orientation this semester.

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