HECON4250 – Cost and efficiency analyses of health care providers

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

A central concept of performance is the cost efficiency of health care institutions, i.e. whether they could have produced the same services at a lower cost. Understanding the efficiency and cost structure of health care service production form the basis of payments to the providers. The course aims at introducing the student to advanced analyses of efficiency variation in service production, with particular emphasis on health care providers such as hospitals. The course will show how the basic concepts of the microeconomic theory of production are made applicable to empirical analysis of health care production. The course aims at introducing the methods and tools that are used in performance analysis in practice.

Learning outcome


You will know:

  • The foundations and scope of cost and efficiency analyses
  • How efficiency analyses can be used in formulation of public policy
  • What information that are needed to do analyses
  • Empirical methods that are in use in this area


You will learn:

  • Production theory, incl. cost functions, efficiency and productivity concepts
  • Stochastic frontier analysis (SFA)
  • Data envelopment analysis (DEA) and Malmquist productivity index
  • Statistical tools for analyzing costs, productivity and efficiency
  • Empirical productivity analyses of hospital data

General competence

You will be able to:

  • Understand the basis of cost and efficiency analysis of health care institutions
  • Calculate efficiency and cost estimates based on provider data
  • Discuss the relevance and limitations of empirical efficiency and performance measures


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 PC lab.


Term paper.


The Board at the University of Oslo has decided to introduce detailed guidelines for all examinations, which take place at the University. The description of the grading should be clear and transparent. This is done to ensure alignment between learning outcomes, assignments, and grading. The Faculty of Medicine has developed a web page with information regarding exams and the grading procedures (norwegian version

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit your assignment.


Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

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.

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

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






The course will not be offered spring 2021.

Teaching language