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Dr Joan Costa-i-Font



Dr Joan Costa-I-Font
Associate Professor (Reader) of Political Economy

European Institute,
Department of Social Policy

Tel: +44 (0)20 7955 6484
Email: j.costa-font@lse.ac.uk 
Room: OLD 2.37
Office hours: Fridays 12.30 - 14.00, any other time by appointment only


Dr Joan Costa-Font works at LSE as an Associate Professor of (‘Reader’ in) Political Economy, in the Departments of Social Policy and the European Institute. Joan is a CESifo network research fellow, and has been Harkness fellow at Harvard University and visiting fellow at UCL Economics department, Boston College (CRR), Oxford University (IA) and the University of Munich (CES).

Dr Costa-Font earned two undergraduate and research degrees, in economics (1996) and law (1997), both from Universitat de Barcelona, a master's degree in economic analysis from Universitat Pompeu Fabra in 1998. In 2000 he moved to LSE where he completed an MSc (Econ) in international health policy (specialising in health economics and public economics). After completing a PhD in economics, in 2001 he earned a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship based at LSE until 2003. He then moved back to Barcelona, where he joined the faculty of economics to teach microeconomics and health economics as a tenured associate professor. During his time at the University of Barcelona, he set up the Centre for Economic Analysis and Social Policies, completed a third degree in political science and carried out research and consultancy for the World Bank and the European Commission. He joined the LSE faculty in 2007, initially as a lecturer, and later as senior lecturer (2010) and then reader (2012) in Political Economy.

Research Interests

  • Economics of Health and Health Care (Health Economics)
  • Economics of Social Behaviour (Social Economics)
  • Political Economy of Social Protection (Political Economy)
  • Evaluation and Design of Social Policies (Social Policy)

Research Agenda

Joan’s work engages mainly with economists interested in health and social care and more broadly with social scientists interested in both the political and fiscal design of social policies and institutions, and the understanding of social behaviour. His current research falls at least in one of the following programs:

  • Behaviour beyond Self Interest
  • Wellbeing Disadvantage and the Transmission of Health Behaviours
  • Financing Health and Long Term Care
  • Political Accountability in Health and Social Care

His older research has featured the regulation of pharmaceuticals, priority setting in health care and the formation of attitudes towards new risks.

Positions Held


SA4F7 The Economics of European Social Policy
EU439 Political and Fiscal Integration and Disintegration in EU Member States
SA104 Social Economics and Policy

Selected Publications (by area)

For a more extensive and detailed list of publications, please see Joan's LSE Research Online Profile and his Google Scholar Citations.

A. Health Economics


1. 'The Economics of New Health Technologies'' with Alistair McGuire and Christophe Courbage. Oxford University Press. 2009.
2.  "Financing long-term care in Europe: institutions, markets and models" with Courbage, C. Palgrave Macmillan, 2011


1. "Careful in the crisis? Determinants of older people's informal care receipt in crisis-struck European countries" (with Karlsson, M and Øien, H). 2016, Health Economics, in press.
2. ”Financing long-term care: ex-ante, ex-post or both? (with Courbage, C and Swartz, K )Health Economics, 2015, 24. 45-57.
3. ” Crowding out of long-term care insurance: evidence from European expectations data” (with Courbage, C). Health Economics, 2015 24. 74-88
4. "Price regulation and relative delays in generic drug adoption (with McGuire,A and Varol, N). Journal of Health Economics, 2014, 38. 1-9.
5. “Anorexia, body image and peer effects: evidence from a sample of European women" (with Jofre-Bonet, M). Economica, 2013, 80 (317). 44-64.
6. "Biases in the Health Care Luxury Good Hypothesis? A Meta-regression Analysis" (with Gemmill-Toyama, M and Rubert, G), Journal of the Royal Statistical Society– Series A, 2011.
7. “Ageing, health, and health care” Oxford Review of Economic Policy (with Breyer, F and Felder, S). , 2010, 26 (4). 674-690.
8. “Competition in off‐patent drug markets: Issues, regulation and evidence” (with P Kanavos, and E Seeley). Economic Policy 23 (55), 499-544
9.  "Public Health Expenditure and Spatial Interactions in a Decentralized National Health System," (with Jordi Pons) Health Economics, 2007, 16(3): 291 – 306.
10. "In Search of a Corrected Prescription Drug Elasticity Estimate: A Meta-Regression Approach," (with Marin Gemmill and Alistair McGuire). Health Economics, 2007, 16(6): 627-643
11. "Diversity and regional inequalities: assessing the outcomes of the Spanish 'system of health care services', (with Guillem López-Casasnovas and Ivan Planas). Health Economics, 2005, 14(S): S221–S235.
12. "Pharmaceutical Parallel Trade in Europe: Impact on Stakeholders and Competition Effects," (with Panos Kanavos). Economic Policy, 2005, 20(44): 753-798
13. "Demand for private health insurance: how important is the quality gap? (with Garcia, J) Health Economics, 2003, 12 (7). 587-599.

B. Social Economics


1. 'Social Economics: Current and New Avenues' (with Macis, M). MIT University Press, 2016.


2. ” Social identity and redistributive preferences: a survey” (with Cowell, F) Journal of Economic Surveys, 2015, 29 (2). 357-374
3. “Not All Incentives Wash out the Warm Glow: The Case of Blood Donation Revisited” (with Jofre-Bonet, M and Yen, S). Kyklos, 2013, 66(4): 521-543.
4. “Family Ties and the Crowding Out of Long Term Care Insurance”. Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 2010, 26(4): 691-712.
5. “Attitudes as an expression of knowledge and 'political anchoring': the case of nuclear power in the United Kingdom” (with C Rudisill and E Mossialos). Risk Analysis, 2008, 28(5): 1273-1283.
6. "Compulsory Language Educational Policies and Identity Formation" (with Irma Clots Figueres, Oriol Aspachs and Paolo Masella), Journal of the European Economic Association, 2008, 6(2-3): 434-444

C. Social Policy


1. "The LSE companion to health policy" with Alistair McGuire. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK. 2012
2. "Reforming Long-term Care in Europe". Wiley, 2011


1. "Eliciting health care priorities in developing countries: experimental evidence from Guatemala" Health Policy and Planning ( with Rovira, J and Sato, A), 2016. 1-24.
2. ”Participatory health system priority setting: evidence from a budget experiment” Social Science & Medicine, (with Rovira, J and Sato, A), 2015, 146. 182-190.
3. “Income Inequalities in Unhealthy Lifestyles in England and Spain” (with Hernandez-Quevedo, C and Jiménez-Rubio, D). Economics and Human Biology, 2014, 13: 66-75
4.“Housing-related well-being in older people: the impact of environmental and financial influences” Urban Studies, 2013, 50 (4). 657-673.
5. “Intergenerational and Socioeconomic Gradients of Child Obesity” (with Gil, J). Social Science Medicine, 2013, 93(1): 29-37.
6. “Behavioural adjustment to avian flu in Europe during spring 2006: the roles of knowledge and proximity” (with Rudisill, C and Mossialos, E). Social Science and Medicine, 2012, 75(8): 1362-1371
7. “ Does cost sharing really reduce inappropriate prescriptions among the elderly? “ (with Gemmill Toyama, Marin ) Health Policy, 2011,101 (2). 195-208.
8. “Persistence despite action? Measuring the patterns of health inequality in England (1997–2007) (with Hernández-Quevedo, C and McGuire, A) Health Policy, 2011,103 (2-3).
9. “Decomposing cross-country differences in levels of obesity and overweight: does the social environment matter?” (with J Gil, J and D Fabbri), Social Science and Medicine, 2010, 70 (8) : 1185–1193.
10. Generational Effects and Gender Height Dimorphism in Contemporary Spain,” (with J Gil). Economics and Human Biology, 2008, 6 (1): 1–18.
11. “What lies behind socio-economic inequalities in obesity in Spain? A decomposition approach,” (with J Gil). Food Policy, 2008, 33 (1): 61-73.

D. Political Economy


1. "Federalism and decentralization in European health and social care" (with Scott Greer.) Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, UK. 2012


1. "When does inter-jurisdictional competition engender a 'race to the bottom'? A meta-regression analysis” (with De-Albuquerque, F and Doucouliagos, H). Economics & Politics, 2015, 27 (3). 488-508
2. "Do jurisdictions compete on taxes? A meta-regression analysis" (with De-Albuquerque, F and Doucouliagos, C) Public Choice, 2014.
3. “Tackling Neglect and Mental Health Care Reform in a Devolved System of Welfare Governance” (with L Salvador, J Cabases, J Alonso and D McDaid). Journal of Social Policy, 2011, 40(2): 295-312.
4. “Devolution, Diversity and Welfare Reform: Long-Term Care in the ‘Latin Rim’”. Social Policy and Administration, 2010, 44 (4): 481-494.
5. “Exploring the pathways of inequality in health access and financing in decentralised Spain,” (with J Gil) Journal of European Social Policy, 2009, 19 (5): 446-458.
6. “Does Devolution lead to Regional Inequalities in Welfare Activity? Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 2010, 28(3) 435–449.
7. “Devolution and the Inter-regional Inequalities in Health and Health Care in Spain,” (with A Rico). Regional Studies, 2006, 40(8): 875–887.
8. "Vertical competition in the Spanish National Health System (NHS)"(with Rico, A)Public Choice, 2006, 128 (3-4). 477-498
9. . “Is the impact of public investment neutral across the regional income distribution? Evidence from Mexico,” (with E Rodriguez). Economic Geography, 2005, 81(3): 305-322.
10. “Power rather than path dependency? The dynamics of institutional change under health care federalism” (with A Rico). Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, 2005, 30 (1): 231-252.
11. "Political competition and pork-barrel politics in the allocation of public investment in Mexico" (with Pla, D and Rodriguez, E). Public Choice, 2003, 116 (1-2). 185-204

For a more extensive and detailed list of publications, please see Joan's LSE Research Online, European Institute and RePEc profiles, as well as his Google Scholar Citations.

Media and Blogs

Joan can be followed at @JoanCostaiFont

His Vox.eu entries can be found here

LSE British politics and Policy blog

LSE European Politics and Policy blog

New America