HP437      Half Unit
Health Equity, Climate Change and the Common Good

This information is for the 2024/25 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Miqdad Asaria (COW.3.07)


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

Priority will be given to Department of Health Policy students.


Whilst there are no formal pre-requisites for the course, the course does assume a familiarity with mathematical ways of thinking and a willingness to engage in groupwork.

Course content

Rising societal inequalities and climate change are two of the most important challenges facing the world today. “The cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor” are intimately related and together have immense implications for health and wellbeing in general, and even more so for the health and wellbeing of the marginalised.

In this course we examine the inter-related historical determinants of social inequality and climate change to understand how and why we have reached the contemporary crisis that we find ourselves in and the implications of this crisis for health inequality. We reflect on the ideas of social justice and the common good to understand what the current state of the world tells us about who and what we collectively value and use this as a framework to re-imagine how we would like our world to look. Finally, we apply tools from public economics, game theory and public choice theory to understand and model possible solutions to the collective action problems that lie at the heart of these crucial issues and can help us begin to progress towards our re-imagined futures.

The course will take a hands-on approach with students working in groups to build policy simulation models in the form of a board game to synthesise, draw insights from and critically engage with the key ideas covered in the course.


30 hours of workshops in the AT.

The course will be organised around 10 weekly 3-hour group-based workshops.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay in the AT.

The formative assessment comprises a 500 word critical assessment of another groups modelling project with recommendations on how to improve it

Indicative reading

  • Donella Meadows (2008) "Thinking in Systems: A Primer"
  • Naomi Klein (2016) “Let Them Drown. The Violence of Othering in a Warming World” LRB
  • Amartya Sen (2016) “Collective Choice and Social Welfare: An Expanded Edition”
  • Pope Francis (2015) “Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home”
  • Mancur Olsen (1965) “The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups”
  • Elinor Ostrom (1990) “Governing the commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action”
  • Thomas Piketty (2021) “A brief history of equality”
  • David Graeber & David Wengrow (2021) “The dawn of everything: a new history of humanity”
  • Amitav Ghosh (2021) “The Nutmeg's Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis”
  • Andreas Malm (2021) “How to blow up a pipeline”


Essay (30%, 1000 words) and video (70%) in the WT.

The summative assessment for the course comprises a 5-7 minute video clip based on the group-based modelling project (70%) and a 1,000 word individual essay critically reflecting on the final model produced (30%).

Key facts

Department: Health Policy

Total students 2023/24: Unavailable

Average class size 2023/24: Unavailable

Controlled access 2023/24: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Personal development skills

  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills