HME4308 – Health economics and market failures

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The first part of the course will be on economic welfare theory, and the properties of perfect competitive markets. Some of the topics are already treated in HØKON 1102 but now a more elaborate presentation will be given.

The second part of the course will focus on different types of market failures that are present in the context of health care, and health insurance. Descriptions of how governments and other decision makers (may) react to market failure will be given. In summary the course will cover the following topics:
(1) Efficient markets (perfect competitive markets)
(2) Market failures with health care applications:

  • externalities (vaccination, altruism)
  • public goods (information, infectious disease plans)
  • imperfect competition: oligopoly and monopoly
  • information problems in markets for health care and health insurance.

(3) The role of the government when market fails. )

Learning outcome

This course intends to provide students with sufficient background in economic welfare theory to be able to understand under what conditions health care services can be efficiently produced and allocated through markets. In particular the course intends to provide students with ability to understand the implications of market failures in the context of health care, and understand how many institutions and regulatory arrangements we observe in this sector can be linked to different types of market failure.


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

Introductory microeconomics / HØKON1102


Lectures and seminars

Please see information for time and place, detailed lecture plan and syllabus on HØKON2201

Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


A final written exam. There will be given a compulsory term paper, which has to be handed in by all students.
If the compulsory term paper is not approved, students will have a new attempt by handing in a new paper within one week

Please note that submitted termpapers in this course can be checked for plagiarism by means of computer software for plagiarism detection.

. A student who still not succeeds will not be permitted to take the exam in this course.

Examination support material

English dictionary and calculator (only the calculator Citizen SR-270X is allowed)

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

In this course the exam is regularly scheduled each semester. It is not arranged make-up exam in this course, cf. § 5.5 i Forskrift om studier og eksamener ved Universitetet i Oslo.

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






Every spring


Spring and autumn

Teaching language