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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


Dr Joan Costa-Font works at LSE as an Associate Professor of (‘Reader’ in) Political Economy, a joint appointment between the Departments of Social Policy and the European Institute. Joan is a research associate at the Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) and LSE Health as well as CESifo network research fellow. He has been Harkness fellow at Harvard University and visiting fellow at Boston College (CRR), Oxford University (IA) and the University of Munich (CES).

Joan’s teaching and research is at the borders of economics and other social sciences (mainly politics and sociology). Specifically, he has specialised on the economic analysis of social policies (primarily health and ageing) , the economic analysis of social behaviour ( identity, esteem, ideas, culture) and the fiscal and political design of European social protection institutions.

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

  • Political Economy of Health and Social Protection
  • Economics theory of Social Motivation (Identity, Culture, Ideas)
  • Health inequality  - Behavioural Origins and Measurement
  • Financing Health and Long Term Care

Positions Held

Main Teaching (Courses Convened)

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

Selected Publications


1. "Federalism and decentralization in European health and social care" with Scott Greer. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, UK. 2012
2. "The LSE companion to health policy" with Alistair McGuire. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK. 2012
3. "Europe and the Mediterranean economy". Routledge studies in the European economy. Routledge, London, UK. 2012
4. "Financing long-term care in Europe: institutions, markets and models" with Courbage, C. Palgrave Macmillan, 2011
5. "Reforming Long-term Care in Europe". Wiley, 2011.
6. ''The Economics of New Health Technologies'' with Alistair McGuire and Christophe Courbage. Oxford University Press. 2009.

Economics Papers

1. "Price regulation and relative delays in generic drug adoption (with McGuire,A and Varol, N). Journal of Health Economics, 2014.
2. “Anorexia, body image and peer effects: evidence from a sample of European women" (with Jofre-Bonet, M). Economica, 2013, 80 (317). 44-64.
3. "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.
4. “Family Ties and the Crowding Out of Long Term Care Insurance”. Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 2010, 26(4): 691-712.
5. “Ageing, health, and health care" (with Breyer, F and Felder, S).Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 2010, 26(4): 674-90.
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
7. “Competition in off‐patent drug markets: Issues, regulation and evidence” (with P Kanavos, and E Seeley). Economic Policy 23 (55), 499-544
8. "Public Health Expenditure and Spatial Interactions in a Decentralized National Health System," (with Jordi Pons) Health Economics, 2007, 16(3): 291 – 306.
9. "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
10. "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.
11. "Pharmaceutical Parallel Trade in Europe: Impact on Stakeholders and Competition Effects," (with Panos Kanavos). Economic Policy, 2005, 20(44): 753-798
12. "Demand for private health insurance: how important is the quality gap? (with Garcia, J) Health Economics, 2003, 12 (7). 587-599.

Political Economy Papers

1. "Do jurisdictions compete on taxes? A meta-regression analysis" (with De-Albuquerque, F and Doucouliagos, C) Public Choice, 2014.
2. “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.
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. “Does Devolution lead to Regional Inequalities in Welfare Activity? Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 2010, 28(3) 435–449
6. “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.
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. "Trade and the Effect of Public Investment on Regional Inequalities in Heterogeneously Integrated Areas,” (with E Rodriguez). The World Economy, 2005, 26(6): 873-892.
10. “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.
11. “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.
12. "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

Social Policy Papers

1. “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
2. “Intergenerational and Socioeconomic Gradients of Child Obesity” (with Gil, J). Social Science Medicine, 2013, 93(1): 29-37.
3. “Housing-related Wellbeing in Older people – the impact of environmental and financial influences”. Urban Studies, 2013, 50 (4): 657-673.
4. “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
5. “Persistence despite Action" Health Inequalities in England, 1997-2007” (with McGuire, A and Hernandez-Quevedo, C). Health Policy, 2011, 103(2-3), 149– 159.
6. “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.
7. “Decomposing Body Mass Index Gaps Between Mediterranean Countries: A Counterfactual Quantile Regression Analysis” (with D Fabbri and J Gil). Economics and Human Biology 2009, 7(3): 351–365.
8. “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.
9. “‘Ageing in Place’? An Examination of Elderly people housing preferences in Spain,”(with O Mascarilla and D Elvira). Urban Studies, 2009, 46(2): 295–316.
10. “Generational Effects and Gender Height Dimorphism in Contemporary Spain,” (with J Gil). Economics and Human Biology, 2008, 6 (1): 1–18.
11. “Housing assets and the socio-economic determinants of health and disability in old age”. Health and Place, 2008, 14 (3):478-491.
12. “What lies behind socio-economic inequalities in obesity in Spain? A decomposition approach,” (with J Gil). Food Policy, 2008, 33 (1): 61-73.

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