HP421      Half Unit
Economic Analysis for Health Policy in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Mylene Lagarde COW.3.02


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Global Health Policy. This course is available on the MSc in Health Policy, Planning and Financing, MSc in International Health Policy and MSc in International Health Policy (Health Economics). This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.


There is no pre-requisite for this course in terms of economic or statistical knowledge. 

Course content

The aim of the course is to provide students with some key analytical methods and concepts used by economists to study health care policies in low- and middle-income countries. The course takes a micro-economic perspective, in that it will study how individuals involved in health care systems (patients, providers, insurers) make decisions which affect the utilisation and delivery of health care services.

The course will present key theoretical concepts and use empirical evidence particularly relevant for policy questions in low- and middle-income settings. The course will be applied in nature, as students will learn through case studies which will expose to different types of data and evidence to analyse decisions made by individuals and then articulate recommendations for health policy.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

• define fundamental principles and concepts of health economics relevant to health policy challenges in low- and middle-income countries

• understand the economic models of decisions made by individuals on the demand- and supply-side of health care markets in low and middle-income countries;

• apply economic reasoning and models to identify problems and to recommend relevant health care policies;

• refer to seminal literature and evidence in the health economics and health policy fields in low- and middle-income countries;

• be able to interpret simple results from empirical economic studies, and formulate policy recommendations.


15 hours of lectures and 13 hours and 30 minutes of seminars in the LT. 3 hours of help sessions in the ST.

Ten 1.5 hour lectures and nine 1.5 hour seminars, plus a three-hour revision seminar in the ST.

Formative coursework

Coursework assessed throughout the LT and mock exam.

Indicative reading

The course draws from a variety of textbooks and articles, providing essential references to understand the theoretical concepts and read key empirical studies. A complete reading list is provided at the start of the term.

The following papers are a selection of readings used in the course:

  • Dupas P (2011) “Health Behavior in Developing Countries” Annual Review of Economics, Vol. 3
  • Lepine, A., M. Lagarde and A. Le Nestour (2018). "How effective and fair is user fee removal? Evidence from Zambia using a pooled synthetic control." Health Economics 27(3): 493-508.
  • Dupas, P., V. Hoffmann, M. Kremer and A. P. Zwane (2016). "Targeting health subsidies through a nonprice mechanism: A randomized controlled trial in Kenya." Science 353(6302): 889-895.
  • Capuno, J. J., A. D. Kraft, S. Quimbo, C. R. Tan and A. Wagstaff (2016). "Effects of Price, Information, and Transactions Cost Interventions to Raise Voluntary Enrollment in a Social Health Insurance”, Health Economics 25(6) p650-662
  • Baicker, K., W. J. Congdon and S. Mullainathan (2012). "Health Insurance Coverage and Take-Up: Lessons from Behavioral Economics." Milbank Quarterly 90(1): 107-134.
  • R. M. Scheffler, C. H. Herbst, C. Lemiere and J. Campbell. (2016). Health Labor Market Analyses in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: An Evidence-Based Approach. 
  • McPake, B, A Scott, and I Edoka. (2014). Analyzing Markets for Health Workers: Insights from Labor and Health Economics. Directions in Development. Washington, DC: World Bank.
  • Lagarde, M. and D. Blaauw (2014). "Pro-social preferences and self-selection into jobs: Evidence from South African nurses." Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization 107, Part A: 136-152.
  • Banerjee, A. V., E. Duflo and R. Glennerster (2008). "Putting a Band-Aid on a Corpse: Incentives for Nurses in the Indian Public Health Care System." Journal of the European Economic Association 6(2-3): 487-500.
  • Björkman, M. and J. Svensson (2009). "Power to the People: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment on Community-Based Monitoring in Uganda." The Quarterly Journal of Economics 124(2): 735-769.
  • Currie, J., W. Lin and W. Zhang (2011). "Patient knowledge and antibiotic abuse: Evidence from an audit study in China." J Health Econ 30(5): 933-949.
  • Björkman Nyqvist, M. and S. Jayachandran (2017). "Mothers Care More, but Fathers Decide: Educating Parents about Child Health in Uganda." American Economic Review 107(5): 496-500.



Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the summer exam period.

Student performance results

(2015/16 - 2017/18 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 4.8
Merit 58.3
Pass 36.9
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Health Policy

Total students 2018/19: 56

Average class size 2018/19: 14

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Commercial awareness
  • Specialist skills