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Health Policy & Management

What is Health Economics?

Health economics is an applied field of study that allows for the systematic and rigorous examination of the problems faced in promoting health for all.

By applying economic theories of consumer, producer and social choice, health economics aims to understand the behavior of individuals, health care providers, public and private organizations, and governments in decision making.

Health economics is used to promote health through the study of health care providers, hospitals and clinics, managed care and public health promotion activities. Health economists apply the theories of production, efficiency, disparities, competition, and regulation to better inform the public and private sector on the most efficient, or cost-effective, and equitable course of action. Such research can include the economic evaluation of new technologies, as well as the study of appropriate prices, anti-trust policy, optimal public and private investment, and strategic behavior.

Health economics can also be used to evaluate how certain social problems such as market failure, and inequitable allocation of resources can impact on the health of a community or population.  Health economics can then be used to directly inform government on the best course of action with regards to regulation, national health packages, defining health insurance packages and other national health programs.  

Faculty of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health are currently conducting research on a wide variety of topics including the impact of health care, health insurance and preventative services on health lifestyles as well as providing research and advice to governments around the globe to enable a more effective and equitable allocation of resources. Further information on faculty research can be found on individual faculty research pages.