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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, a joint appointment between the Departments of Social Policy and the European Institute. Joan is a research associate at  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, sociology and social psychology). Specifically, he has specialised in the analysis of social policies (primarily in the broad field of 'health and social care'), social behaviours (mainly examining the role of identity, esteem, ideas, culture) and 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

  • Health Economics
  • Social Economics
  • Political Economy
  • Social Policy

Research Programs

  • Political Accountability in Health and Social Care
  • Behaviour beyond Self Interest (Identity, Culture, Ideas)
  • Wellbeing Disadvantage and Intergenerational Transmission
  • Financing Health and Long Term Care
  • Economic Returns to Health Investments and Behaviours

Positions Held



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

Selected Publications

A. Health and Social 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

Journal Articles

1.” Social identity and redistributive preferences: a survey” (woth Cowell, F) Journal of Economic Surveys, 2015, 29 (2). 357-374
2.”Regulation effects on the adoption of new medicines (McGuire, A and Varol, N). Empirical Economics, 2015, 49 (3). 1101-1121.
3.”Financing long-term care: ex-ante, ex-post or both? (with Courbage, C and Swartz, K ) Health Economics,  2015, 24. 45-57.
4.” Crowding out of long-term care insurance: evidence from European expectations data” (with Courbage, C).  Health Economics, 2015 24. 74-88
5. "Price regulation and relative delays in generic drug adoption (with McGuire,A and Varol, N). Journal of Health Economics, 2014, 38. 1-9.
6. “Anorexia, body image and peer effects: evidence from a sample of European women" (with Jofre-Bonet, M). Economica, 2013, 80 (317). 44-64. 
7. "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. 
8. “Family Ties and the Crowding Out of Long Term Care Insurance”. Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 2010, 26(4): 691-712. 
9. “Ageing, health, and health care" (with Breyer, F and Felder, S).Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 2010, 26(4): 674-90. 
10. "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 
11. “Competition in off‐patent drug markets: Issues, regulation and evidence” (with P Kanavos, and E Seeley). Economic Policy 23 (55), 499-544 
12. "Public Health Expenditure and Spatial Interactions in a Decentralized National Health System," (with Jordi Pons) Health Economics, 2007, 16(3): 291 – 306. 
13. "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 
14. "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. 
15. "Pharmaceutical Parallel Trade in Europe: Impact on Stakeholders and Competition Effects," (with Panos Kanavos). Economic Policy, 2005, 20(44): 753-798 
16. "Demand for private health insurance: how important is the quality gap? (with Garcia, J) Health Economics, 2003, 12 (7). 587-599. 

B. Political Economy


1. "Federalism and decentralization in European health and social care" (with Scott Greer.) Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, UK. 2012
2.  "Europe and the Mediterranean economy". Routledge studies in the European economy. Routledge, London, UK. 2012

Journal Articles

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. “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. “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. 
5. “Devolution, Diversity and Welfare Reform: Long-Term Care in the ‘Latin Rim’”. Social Policy and Administration, 2010, 44 (4): 481-494. 
6. “Does Devolution lead to Regional Inequalities in Welfare Activity? Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 2010, 28(3) 435–449 
7. “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. 
8. “Devolution and the Inter-regional Inequalities in Health and Health Care in Spain,” (with A Rico). Regional Studies, 2006, 40(8): 875–887. 
9. "Vertical competition in the Spanish National Health System (NHS)"(with Rico, A)Public Choice, 2006, 128 (3-4). 477-498 
10. "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. 
11. “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. 
12. “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. 
13. "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 

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.

Journal Articles

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. “What is the impact of policy differences on nursing home utilization?: the cases of Germany and the Netherlands” ( with Alders, P and Costa-Font, J and de Klerk, M and Frank, R) Health Policy, 119 (6), 2015, 814-820
4.”Brand loyalty, patients and limited generic medicines uptake” (Rudisill, C and Tan, S)  Health Policy, 2015,116 (2-3). 224-233
5. “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 
6. “Intergenerational and Socioeconomic Gradients of Child Obesity” (with Gil, J). Social Science Medicine, 2013, 93(1): 29-37. 
7. “Housing-related Wellbeing in Older people – the impact of environmental and financial influences”. Urban Studies, 2013, 50 (4): 657-673. 
8. “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 
9. “Persistence despite Action" Health Inequalities in England, 1997-2007” (with McGuire, A and Hernandez-Quevedo, C). Health Policy, 2011, 103(2-3), 149– 159. 
10. “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. 
11. “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. 
12. “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. 
13. “‘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. 
14. “Generational Effects and Gender Height Dimorphism in Contemporary Spain,” (with J Gil). Economics and Human Biology, 2008, 6 (1): 1–18. 
15. “Housing assets and the socio-economic determinants of health and disability in old age”. Health and Place, 2008, 14 (3):478-491. 
16. “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 more extensive and detailed list of publications, please see Joan's LSE Research Online Profile and his Google Scholar Citations