Microeconomic Topics in Health Economics

Lecturer(s): Prof. Mathias Kifmann
Location: Basel


Microeconomic analysis is an important tool for health economics. This will be demonstrated for four selected topics which are at the core of health economics. For each topic, the lecture gives an overview. With the help of problem sets and presentations, more detailed aspects will be discussed. Participants should be familiar with microeconomic theory at least at an intermediary level. The course relies on research papers and lecture notes.


The course is intended for PhD students and other researchers interested in micro-economic topics in health economics. It consists of five days of lectures and presentation. Students are assessed on their presentation and discussion of a paper.


  • To give students understanding of micro-economic models in health
  • To make students competent in principle-agent models
  • To motivate students to conduct their own research into health economic models


Part 1: Optimal Health Insurance Contracts

We cover the theory of optimal health insurance with and without moral hazard. The aim is to characterize the optimal insurance contracts, in particular to what extent deductibles and coinsurance are optimal.

Part 2: Selection in Health Insurance

In health insurance markets, selection issues can appear in a number of ways. We review the theory of adverse selection and discuss the problem of advantageous selection. Furthermore, we present models dealing with selection issues in markets with community rating.

Part 3: Physician Behavior and Payment

This part of the course examines several multi-task agency problems of physician behavior. We consider physicians’ role in cost control, quality provision, patient access and referral decision. For each scenario, we examine the implications for the design of optimal payment.

Part 4: Provider Competition

The market for health care does not conform to the textbook model of perfect competition. Furthermore, competition often takes place in regulated settings. In particular, the price for health care is regulated. We discuss models of competition and their implications.

For more information on the course (e.g. readings), please refer to the course outline.


Local Coordinator: Nikola Jovanoski


You can find the tuition fees for the course here, and apply for the course with this enrolment form.

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