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Module leads

Philip Clarke - Professor of Health Economics & Director, HERC Philip Clarke

BSc, MSc, PhD Mara Violato - Associate ProfessorMara Violato


The aim of the Health Economics module is to give students (potentially with no background in economics) a first clear understanding of the fundamental concepts and principles of economics relevant to health, health care, and the functioning of the health care system. This will be followed by guidance on how to use economics tools to inform and evaluate health care and public health interventions. Through lectures, self-directed assignments and subsequent discussion in small tutorial groups, the module will examine alternative models of health care delivery and financing, as well as equity and efficiency objectives in providing health care services and setting priorities at national and local level. Principles of economic appraisal will then be introduced with a focus on the methods and the practical uses of cost-effectiveness and cost-benefit analysis of alternative health care and public health interventions. 

We hope that this module will offer an interesting and useful introduction to the Economics of Health, which will provide students with the relevant knowledge to address the many current health issues that have a substantial economic element.

Learning objectives:

  • To define fundamental concepts and principles of economics relevant to health and health care.

  • To evaluate the distinctive features of the functioning of the health and health care market.

  • To appreciate why economic evaluation of health care and public health interventions is important.
  • To become familiar with the methods and application of economic appraisal in health care.
  • To critically appraise, analyse and interpret economic studies of health and health care interventions.


  1. Comparative Health systems: health care funding and provision
  2. Microeconomic Tools for Health Economic Analysis
  3. The market for health care: market failure and its consequences for regulation and provision
  4. Health inequalities
  5. Principles of priority setting and of economic appraisal
  6. Measuring and valuing health
  7. Defining and measuring costs
  8. Decision analytic modelling and extrapolation for economic evaluation
  9. Cost-effectiveness and decision-making in practice
  10. Economics of the COVID-19 pandemic.