Fall 2021 - HSCI 206 D100

The Economics of Health and Health Care (3)

Class Number: 2121

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    BLU 9660, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    HSCI 130 with a minimum grade of C-.



Students will gain an introductory understanding of the theories and concepts that underpin economics and be able to demonstrate how these can be applied to provide insights for health policy, health care decision making and health technology assessment. Students with credit for HSCI 306 may not take this course for further credit.


Health care systems throughout the world are faced with rising costs and increasing demands. It is perhaps inevitable that there is a consequent tendency to turn to the discipline of economics for help. Much of the interest in this discipline arises from a belief that economics is about economizing, about saving money. This is inaccurate. Economics is about the use of scarce resources in an efficient and equitable way. This course is designed to provide students with a comprehensive but accessible introduction to economic principles and applications. Students will develop an understanding of the theories and concepts that underpin economics, and how these can be applied to provide insights for health policy and health care decision-making. The course comprises six units, covering the full 13 weeks of the semester. The three hours of weekly class time will include combinations of conventional lectures (using slides and the whiteboard, where appropriate), class discussions and group activities. Lectures will be used to introduce key themes and represent a starting point for students to engage in self-directed and participatory study. There are no tutorials.


The study of economics as applied to health and health care is likely to be new to all FHS students. This does not make the course a ‘bad fit’ for the faculty – quite the opposite. The application of economic principles provides very useful insight for decision-making in all areas of health care (such as clinical practice, public health, commissioning health services, etc.). No prior knowledge of economics is necessary. Upon completion of the course, students will be able to understand and analyze critically, from an economic perspective, commonly-debated health issues in modern societies. Students will demonstrate their competency with the course material through the assignments (assessed) as well as participation in class discussion/activities (non-assessed).

More specifically, students will be able to...

  • Define fundamental concepts of economics and articulate these concepts in health and non-health contexts
  • State and explain potential reasons for market failure in health care
  • Analyze a range of issues associated with the demand for health care (e.g., standard frameworks, inducement and insurance) 
  • Apply economic reasoning to debate the role of government in the health system
  • Contrast different economic evaluation study designs and understand areas of metholodological debate


  • Written assignment (Midterm #1) ** to be confirmed ** 25%
  • Quiz ** to be confirmed ** 10%
  • Written assignment (Midterm #2) ** to be confirmed ** 40%
  • Final examination ** to be confirmed ** 25%


If you cannot meet an assignment deadline due to medical reasons, you must contact me before the deadline (email or telephone). Medical justifications will require a completed Certificate of Illness form (http://www.sfu.ca/content/dam/sfu/students/pdf/certificate-of-illness.pdf). If you are allowed to make up for a missed assignment, the assessment method could comprise any format. I will review non-medical extenuating circumstances on an individual basis. If there is a family problem that you must attend to, I require a written explanation of the reason for your absence, and some means of verification. If you think you may need an alternate date to submit/complete an assignment in order to observe a holy day for your religion, you must provide a written request during the first two weeks of class.



Hurley JE. Health Economics. 2018 (this is an eBook)

NOTE: prior to 2018, this book was published, in hard copy, by McGraw-Hill Ryerson (2010). The author has not made significant changes to the content of the textbook since it moved to an eBook. If you're able to get hold of a hard copy (such as the ones in the library), that will be fine.

Students can purchase the eBook through Campus eBookstore (http://www.campusebookstore.com/) or the SFU Bookstore.
ISBN: 9780666386199


Throughout the course, links to online peer-reviewed articles will also be provided through Canvas. Some journal articles will be required reading, some will be recommended reading.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the fall 2021 term.