HECON4100 - Fundamentals of Health Economics

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content

The course presents the framework and analytical methods economists use to study the health economy and address key policy issues. The aim is to enable you to analyze typical resource allocation problems involving health and healthcare.

Learning outcome


The course will provide you with knowledge of:

  • the peculiar economic characteristics of health and health care markets
  • what characterizes market failures in health care markets and what causes the failures
  • the concept of production function of health & health care
  • 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
  • loading costs and the behavior of insurance firms
  • moral hazard and the role of demand-side cost-sharing
  • impact of health insurance on the efficient allocation of resources in the health care market
  • supply-side cost sharing and managed insurance
  • adverse selection, plan competition and the issue of plan renewability
  • limits of health care insurance markets & role of the State
  • how observed regulations of health care markets can be linked to particular sources of market failure


You will learn how to:

  • interpret agent's behaviour according to the perspective of economic rationality
  • understand economic reasons leading to frailty and failure in markets for health care
  • interpret public policies as addressing tradeoffs in health care allocations
  • use diagrams as a tool to represent:
  • demand for health, health care and health care insurance
  • decisions of health care providers
  • fundamental tradeoffs in health care allocation

General competence

You will be able to:

  • link different policy recommendations to specific types of market failure
  • recognize the key economic tradeoffs implied in different healthcare allocation problems
  • Understand economic reasons behind trends in health care system development


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Lectures and seminars.


Written exam

Examination support material

No examination support material is allowed.

Language of examination

For students at Eu-HEM: English

For students at HEPAM: The problem set will be given in English. Answers can be given in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

For HEPMA students:

For Eu-HEM students:

An EU-hem student cannot present her or himself for the examination in a course more than two times. There will be held re-sits for EU-hem students who have failed an exam or who have legitimate absence (usually illness) in January and August. If you are entitled to a re-sit you must contact the student advisor via email no longer than one week after the result of the exam has been published.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Every autumn


Every autumn

Teaching language