The University of Southampton

HMPR1006 Health Economics

Module Overview

The module will be prefaced by 2 introductory health economic lectures in HMPR1002 On the Social Science of Healthcare in order to map links between economics and other social sciences. The module will further link to and support other modules. In particular: HMPR2001 Doing Research in Healthcare; Design and Analysis; HMPR2004 Data analysis in the context of Healthcare Management, Policy and Research, HMPR3001 Research project, HMPR3003 Innovation in Healthcare, HMPR3004 Analysing complexity: combining methods to design and evaluate innovation in Health Science; and HMPR3005 Decision Making for Healthcare.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

To provide you with an introduction to key concepts in economics that underpin economic thinking behind, and appreciation of, the main tools used by health economists to support decision-makers do better with the scare health care resources at the disposal of nations and communities. The secondary aim is to learn to critically appraise health economic research evidence and interpret its usefulness for health policy for the UK and foreign governments. Successful completion of this module will allow you considerable insight into important issues in health economics and the challenges of resource allocation.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • describe and understand key principles of scarcity, choices, opportunity cost and the margin;
  • understand the conditions under which health care markets ‘fail’ and why governments intervene and describe how governments intervene through a comparison of health systems;
  • understand and explain the role of health economic evaluation in health and health care research and policy;
  • evaluate economic evidence and relate this to the usefulness of economic information for priority setting and allocation of scarce resources;
  • define equity in health and health care and explain the relationship between equity and efficiency in health care resource allocation.


• Core economic concepts: scarcity, choices, opportunity cost and the margin • Theory of markets and market failure in health care • How governments intervene in health care financing and delivery • In pursuit of efficiency: economic evaluation of health care interventions, theory and practice • Achieving equity • Setting the health care budget • Usefulness of economic information for policy makers like NICE

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The course consists of seven topics covering both conceptual and practical work. It will be delivered using lectures and tutorials. Lectures will be interactive where you will be introduced to the ideas and issues and this will be followed up with some structured tutorial sessions to re-enforce key learning points. Formative feedback will be a key component of the learning environment to ensure that you can move forward in your learning.

Wider reading or practice26.5
Completion of assessment task80
Preparation for scheduled sessions54
Total study time187.5

Resources & Reading list

Donaldson C and Gerard K (2005). Economics of health care financing: the visible hand. Economic Issues in Health Care Series.. 

McIntosh E, Clarke P, Frew E and Louviere J (2010). Applied Methods of Cost-Benefit Analysis in Health Care.. 

Guinness L and Wiseman V (Eds). (2001). Introduction to Health Economics. Understanding Public Health Series. 

Fox-Rushby J and Cairns J (2005). Economic Evaluation.. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (2000 words) 75%
Individual Presentation 25%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay %
Individual Presentation %

Repeat Information

Repeat type: External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Books and Stationery equipment

Students may wish to purchase texts to support their learning, however, the library is well stocked with suitable texts.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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