This course is discontinued

HME4302 – Health Economics

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This course is about the application of economics to problems related to demand, supply and production of health, health services and social services. In particular what concepts from information economics and contract theory are useful to describe health and social services? What is the position of the consumer, in terms of information and consumer sovereignty? Though the answer differs with the specific type of service, clarifying these questions is important in order to identify key organizational challenges and analyze policy.

In the introductory part of the course we focus on topics such as health care organization, health care reforms and distributional issues (e.g. trade-off between efficiency and equity).

In part II the point of departure is that demand for health care is derived from the demand for health. In this respect the tradeoff between prevention and cure is a central feature. Uncertainty related to future health creates demand for health insurance. Health insurance implies that the price the consumer faces when using health services is lowered. Typically, the consumer has more information about the probability of illness and preventive effort than the insurer. Hence, the decline in consumer price may encourage a decline in prevention and an increase in the demand for health services. Social efficiency requires that the benefit from insurance be balanced against the inefficiency caused by moral hazard and adverse selection. The analysis of alternative design of health insurance is an important part of the course.

The last part of this course is concerned with incentives and health care providers (GPs and hospitals). One important topic considered here is the role of payment schemes.

Learning outcome

In general, the students are supposed to acquire knowledge of the basic theories and models in the field of health economics. These models are important tools for the understanding and discussion of central parts of health policy. Hence, the course aims at giving the students knowledge that enables them to contribute to the discussion of health policy issues both at the micro and the macro levels.


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.


Recommended previous knowledge

ECON4120 – Mathematics 2: Calculus and Linear Algebra


There will mainly be lectures and seminars with required essays. We also aim at providing practical inputs in terms of lectures by health care managers.


A mandatory term paper and a written exam. The term paper/essay must be approved in order to sit for the exam.

A mandatory individual assignment has to be passed before the final exam. If the mandatory assignment is awarded a failing grade, it will be possible to submit a rewritten version once, within one week.

Examination support material

English dictionary

Language of examination

All written exams and term papers at the master's programme in Health Economics, Policy and Management have to be conducted 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

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.

Facts about this course






Spring 2013


Spring 2013

Teaching language