Electronic Links to Readings

Reading List

ECON 43565 Health Economics

Fall 2018

All files are in PDF format.  Note that some of the articles are scanned copies of book chapters or articles that are not available in electronic format.  As a result, the PDF files are very large.  In some cases, I’ve broken the files up into two smaller files to ease the download/printer burden.  You must use your netid to access the files.

Articles with a (#) are articles you can use for a précis.

Course Overview

What is health economics?

(Lecture notes only)


The production of health


Statistics detour – difference-in-difference models (Lecture notes only)


An historical perspective


#Cutler, David, Angus Deaton, and Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2006. “The Determinants of Mortality.” Journal of Economic Perspectives, 20(3), 97-120.


#McKeown, Thomas, The Role of Medicine: Dream, Mirage or Nemesis, London, England: Nuffield Provincial Hospitals Trust; 1976, pages 29-65.  Chapter 3.  Chapter 4.  (I’ve also included a link to Chapter 8.  You are not required to read it but just look at the graphs in the chapter especially 8.1, 8.5, 8.8-8.10, 8.14).


#Fogel, Robert, The Escape from Hunger and Premature Death, 1700-2100, Cambridge, UK :Cambridge University Press, 2005, 1-42.


#Cutler, David and Grant Miller, “The Role of Public Health Improvements in Health Advances:  The Twentieth-Century United States.”  Demography 42(1), 2005, 1-22.


Health and development:  macro and micro perspectives

c1.  Macro studies


Bloom, David E. and David Canning, “The Health and Wealth of Nations,” Science, 2000, 287(5456), 1207-1208.


Sachs, Jeffrey, and Pia Malaney, “The Economic and Social Burden of Malaria,” Nature, 2002, 415(6872), 680-685.


#Acemoglu, Daron, and Simon Johnson, 2007.  “Disease and Development: The Effect of Life Expectancy on Economic Growth,” Journal of Political Economy, 115 (6), December, 925-985 (Focus on Pages 925-945).


c2.  Micro studies


#Cutler, David M., Winnie Fung, Michael Kremer, Monica Singhal, and Tom Vogl, 2010.  “Early-life Malaria Exposure and Adult Outcomes: Evidence from Malaria Eradication in India,” American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 2(2), 72-94.


#Bleakley, Hoyt. 2007. “Disease and Development:  Evidence from Hookworm Eradication in the American South.”  Quarterly Journal of Economics 122(1): 73-117.


Statistics detour – Regression Discontinuity Design


Modern correlates of health



#Clark, Damon, and Heather Royer. 2014. “The Effect of Education on Adult Mortality and Heath:  Evidence from Britain.”  American Economic Review


#Sullivan, Daniel and Till von Wachter, 2009. “Job Displacement and Mortality: An Analysis Using Administrative Data.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 124(3), 1265-1306.


#Anderson, Michael, and Sir Michael Marmot. 2012. “The Effects of Promotions on Heart Disease: Evidence from Whitehall.”  Economic Journal 122: 555-589.




III.       The Government control of unhealthy behavior


Pigouvian taxes

Gruber, J., Chapters 5& 6 of Public Finance and Public Policy, 2005, New York:  Worth Publishers.


Do smokers and drinkers pay their way?

#Manning, WB, EB Keeler, JP Newhouse, EM Sloss, J Wasserman. “The taxes of sin.  Do smokers and drinkers pay their way?” JAMA 1989 Mar 17, 261(11):1604-1609.


Viscusi, W. Kip, “How to Value a Life.”Journal of Economics and Finance, 32(2008): 311-323.




Explaining the rise on obesity and can taxes work again?


#Cutler, David, Edward Glaeser and Jesse Shapiro, 2003. “Why Have Americans Become More Obese?”  Journal of Economic Perspectives, 17(3). 93-118.


#Fletcher, Jason M., David Frisvold, and Nathan Teftt. 2010. “The Effect of Soft Drink Taxes on Child and Adolescent Consumption and Weight Outcomes.”  Journal of Public Economics 94(11-12), 967-974.


Deaths of despair and the Opioid/Heroin Crisis


#Case, Anne, and Angus Deaton. 2017. “Mortality and Morbidity in the 21st Century.”  Brookings Papers of Economic Activity. 397-476


Evans, William N., Ethan Lieber, and Patrick Power. “How the Reformulation of OxyContin Ignited the Heroin Epidemic.” Forthcoming. Review of Economics and Statistics.




Health insurance and the demand for medical care


Choices under uncertainty and the role of insurance


Nicholson, Walter, Microeconomic Theory:  Basic Principles and Extensions, 7th edition, Dryden press, 1998.  Chapters 8 and 10, p 209-259.


Moral hazard


#Newhouse, Joseph, Free for All, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993, p. 3-28, 31-49, 338-345.  Part 1.  Part 2.


#Finkelstein, Amy, et al., 2012. “The Oregon Health Insurance Experiment:  Evidence from the First Year.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 127(3), 1057-1106.


#Baicker, Katherine, et al. 2013. “The Oregon Experiment – Effects of Medicaid on Clinical Outcomes.”  New England Journal of Medicine  368(18), 1712-1722.


#Chandra, Amitabh, Jonathan Gruber, and Robin McKnight. 2010. “Patient Cost-Sharing and Hospitalization Offsets in the Elderly,” American Economic Review 100(1), 1-24.


Adverse selection


Rothschild, Michael and Joseph Stiglitz, 1976. “Equilibrium in Competitive Insurance Markets: An Essay on the Economics of Imperfect Information,” Quarterly Journal of Economics,  90(4): 629-650.


#Cutler, David M., and Sarah J. Reber, “Paying for Health Insurance: The Tradeoff Between Competition and Adverse Selection,” Quarterly Journal of Economics, 113(2), pp. 433-466.


#Simon, Kosali, “Adverse Selection in Health Insurance Markets?  Evidence from State Small-Group Health Insurance Reforms,” Journal of Public Economics, 89, 2005, 1865-1877.



Employer-provided health insurance


For this section, it might be useful for you to review your class notes from intermediate micro economics on income and substitution effects.



Blumenthal, David. 2006. “Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance in the United States – Origins and Implications.”  New England Journal of Medicine 355: 82-88.


Shiels, J., Haught, R., “The Cost of Tax-Exempt Health Benefits in 2004,” Health Affairs, Web exclusive, February 24, 2004.


Reinhardt, Uwe, 1999. “Employer-Based Health Insurance: A Balance Sheet,” Health Affairs, 18(6), 124-132.


The health benefits of insurance coverage


#Card , David, Carlos Dobkin, Nicole Maestas, 2009. “Does Medicare Save Lives?” Quarterly Journal of Economics, 124(2), 597-636.


#Finkelstein, Amy, Robin McKnight. 2008. “What Did Medicare Do?  The Initial Impact of Medicare on Mortality and out of Pocket Spending.” Journal of Public Economics, 92 (2008), 1644-1668. (only read though page 1653).


#Doyle, Joseph J. Jr. 2005. “Health insurance, Treatment and Outcomes: Using Auto Accidents as Health Shocks.” Review of Economics and Statistics  87(2), 256-270.



          How health insurance interacts with the job market


Summers, Lawrence, 1989. “Some Simple Economics of Mandated Benefits,” American Economic Review, May 177-183.


Krueger, Alan, and Uwe Reinhart, “The Economics of Employer versus Individual Mandates,” Health Affairs, Spring (II) 1994, 34-53.


#Gruber, J., 1994. “The Incidence of Mandated Maternity Benefits,” American Economic Review, 84(3), 622.641.


#Cutler, David, Jonathan Gruber, 1996. “Does Public Insurance Crowd Out Private Insurance,” Quarterly Journal of Economics, 111, 391-430.


Gruber, Jonathan, and Kosali Simon. 2008. “Crowd-Out 10 Years Later: Have Recent Public Insurance Expansions Crowded Out Private Health Insurance.”  Journal of Health Economics 27(2), 201-217.



Medical technology and health care costs


Newhouse, Joseph, “Medical Care Costs: How Much Welfare Loss?” Journal of Economic Perspectives, 6(3), 1992, 3-31.


Pauly, Mark. “Should We Be Worried About High Real Medical Spending Growth in the US?” Health Affairs, Web Exclusive, Jan 8, 2003, w3-15.


#Cutler, D., M. McClellan, “Is Technological Change in Medicine Worth It?”  Health Affairs, 20(5), 2001, 11-29.


#Cutler, David, Allison B. Rosen, and Sandeep Vijan, 2006. “Value of Medical Innovation in the United States: 1960-2000,” New England Journal of Medicine, 355(9), 920-927.



Barrett, Jessica, and Edward R. Berhick. 2016. Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2016, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC.




The last two sections of the class will put together a lot of what we’ve learned about economics in the health care sector and look at two current topics.



The Affordable Care Act


The Kaiser Family Foundation Summary of the Affordable Care Act




Please look over this document and come to class with five interesting facts about the uninsured.


Barrett, Jessica, and Edward R. Berhick. 2016. Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2016, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC.



Baicker, Katherine and Chandra, Amitabh, 2008. “Myths and Misconceptions about U.S. Health Insurance,” Health Affairs, Web Exclusive: w533-w543.


Garthwaite, Craig, and John A. Graves. 2017. “Success and Failure in the Insurance Exchanges.” New England Journal of Medicine 376(10): 907-910.


McCue, Michael, and Mark Hall. 2018. “How Have Health Insurers Performed Financially Under the ACA’s Market Rules.”  Commonwealth Fund Issue Brief, October.


#Courtemanche, James Marton, Benjamin Ukert, Aaron Yelowitz, and Daniela Zapata. 2017. “Early Impacts of the Affordable Care Act on Health Insurance Coverage in Medicaid Expansion and non-Expansion States.”  Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 36(1): 178-210.


#Frean, Molly. Jonathan Gruber, and Benjamin D. Sommers. 2017. “Premium subsidies, the Mandate, and Medicaid Expansion: Coverage Effects of the Affordable Care Act.”  53(1): 72-86.


VII.      The US Health Disadvantage


National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, 2017. US Health in International Perspective, Washington, DC:  National Academies Press.


Everyone is expected to read Chapter 1 which lays out the problem.  Chapters 4-8 outline different explanations for the US Health Disadvantage.  I will assign certain people to read a particular chapter and student should be ready to explain why or why not the area does not explain the stark difference in outcomes.


Chapter 1:  Shorter lives, pages 25-56.

Chapter 4: Public Health and Medical Care Systems, 106-135.

Chapter 5:  Individual Behaviors, 138-159.

Chapter 6: Social Factors, 161-190.

Chapter 7: Physical and Social Factors, 192-205.

Chapter 8: Policies and Social Values, 207-236.


Fenelon, Andrew, Li-Hui Chen, and Susan Baker. 2016. “Major Causes of Injury Death and the Life Expectancy Gap Between the United States and other High-Income Countries.” JAMA 315(6): 609-611.


#Chen, Alice, Emily Oster, and Heidi Williams. 2016. “Why is Infant Mortality Higher in the United States than Europe?” American Economic Journal:  Economic Policy 8(2): 89-124.


#Garber, Alan, and Jonathan Skinner. 2008. “Is American Health care Uniquely Inefficient?”  Journal of Economic Perspectives 22(4), 27-50.