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You are here:Open notes-->Princeton-University-->ECONOMICS-332--TOPICS-IN-ECONOMICS-OF-HEALTH-AND-HEALTH-CARE-Princeton-University


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OBJECTIVES: This course explores health-care systems from the perspective on an economist. It means that the course abstracts from important facets of health systems explored by other disciplines. After covering some basic analytic tools used by health economists, the focus will on the economic decisions and processes that drive the demand for and the production of “health,” and those for “health care” proper. After reviewing the economics of health insurance, the course ends with a brief survey of health systems in different countries. HOMEWORK EXERCISES: To help students get a better grasp for the material covered in the course, there will be a series of homework exercises. They will be posted on the Blackboard website under “Assignments,” usually by Monday mornings. Unless otherwise indicated, they are due one week later. To avoid saddling the preceptors with the exacting, nuanced, numerical grading applied to the midterm test and the final examination, the homework assignments will be graded +, , -, according to the following, less exacting scheme: + (100 pts.) The answers are correct and the workmanship is good to excellent.  ( 80 pts.) The answers are basically correct; but the workmanship is wanting, or there are some errors; but the workmanship is good to excellent. - ( 60 pts.) Quite a few things are incorrect, whatever the workmanship may be, or the workmanship is shoddy, however correct or incorrect the answers may be. 0 ( 0 pts.) The assignment was not turned in, or it was turned in too late. To arrive at the final course grade, these check marks will be converted into a numerical percentage scores consistently applied to all students. 2 INTERPLAY BETWEEN PRECEPTS AND LECTURES: There will not be mandatory precepts in the course, but we will schedule a weekly review session at which teaching assistants will cover specified material not covered in the lectures or simply stand ready to answer question. That review session will be scheduled at a time that minimizes schedule conflicts for students. Experience suggests, however, that it will be impossible to satisfy all students in this regard. TEXBOOK: The main textbook for this course is one widely used elsewhere in undergraduate courses of health economics, namely: Sherman Folland, Andrew C. Goodman and Miron Stano, The Economics of Health and Health Care, 6th ed., Prentice Hall, 2010. (We’ll walk through most of that book together). It has been ordered at Labyrinth Books. There will be additional readings in other textbooks (on reserve) or from journals (also on reserve or accessible through links provided in this syllabus). MITDERN TEST AND FINAL EXAMINATION: There will be a 1-1/12 hour midterm test, scheduled to be administered in the regular lecture hour on March 9, 2011 and a regular, 3-hour final examination. Both are closed-book examinations. Students should mark the date of the midterm in their calendars, as exceptions from that date will be granted only under exceptional circumstances completely beyond the student’s control. COURSE GRADE: The student's letter grade for the course grade will be based on the student's position in the class-distribution of a weighted average score (S) that will be calculated as follows: S = 0.20H + max{ 0.25M+0.55F, 0.15M+0.65F }. Here H denotes the overall average percentage score earned on 10 homework assignments, M is the percentage score on the 1.5 hour midterm test and F is the percentage score on the final examination. This grading scheme follows the intent of University rules on the grading of first-year courses that the final exam should not carry undue weight, but it also reduces the mortgage that a low grade on the midterm can place on the student's overall course grade. 3 OUTLINE OF TOPICS AND READING ASSIGNMENTS Readings in the main textbook are preceded by F. Items preceded by “Blackboard” are stored under COURSE MATERIALS. Relevant readings that are only recommended are preceded by “Recommended only.” The syllabus takes a stroll through your textbook, but also gives you a glimpse at some pertinent literature associated with each topic, often to take a glimpse at the real world. GUIDANCE ON THE READINGS The reading list may seem heavy, but it is not if you follow these guidelines. You are not expected to plough through these papers as if you were reading the textbook or you were a peer reviewer asked to evaluate critically the methodology used by the author or authors. That would take quite a bit of time. Rather, after reading a paper, we expect you to be able to answer the following questions: 1. What was the focus of the paper? 2. Roughly, what methodology was used (if any formal one was used)? 3. On what data set did the study draw (if any)? 4. What were the author’s main findings and conclusions? 5. What implications for public policy might the paper have (if any)? If you approach each reading with this framework in mind and take notes accordingly, you should not get bogged down unduly in detail and yet get the gist of the paper. So if you run across a little math or statistics, don’t linger on it to follow every step. Just grasp the gist of the paper.

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