EC 782

Health Economics II (PhD level)

September 2022 Class meetings:  MW 3:30-4:45 pm   SSW 546

Professor Randall Ellis
Office: Room 555
270 Bay State Road
ellisrp at bu dot edu
tel: 617-353-2741

Classes will be held in person. Office hours will be in person unless you can provide a compelling reason.

Office hours:  Tuesday 2-3:30 am and Wed 11:30-12:30 am. Other times by appointment.

You are encouraged to sign up for a slot for my office hours here, although walk-ins are also welcome. Please confirm scheduled meetings via emails and tell me whether you will be coming via Zoom or in person.

I try to reserve Thursdays for research. Please try not to ask to meet on Thursdays.

This syllabus is for the empirical and policy portion of the two-course sequence in Health Economics at the Ph.D. level. Professor Albert Ma teaches 781 Health Economics I in the spring. You do not need to have taken EC781 to take this course. Students should be comfortable with microeconomics courses of the Ph.D. program as well as at least master’s level econometrics; a background in Industrial Organization is helpful, but is not a prerequisite. Interests in labor, development, and public economics are also useful.

There will be one in-class mid-term examination based on first half of the term, and a final examination based on the second half material. You are invited to write a paper instead of taking the final exam, but need to turn in an outline of that paper by October 31. Final paper is due on the same day as the final exam.

There will be seven homework assignments linked here and two short in-class presentations with instructions here.

Grading will be as follows.

Midterm Examination: 20%  (October, during class time)

Final Examination or Term Paper: 35%   (Date and time TBA)

Class participation and preparation: 10%

Presentations and presentation material (including PowerPoint/PDF slides) 15%

Homework assignments: 20%

Course web site (this page):

There is no required text for this course. BUT:

If you are planning to learn SAS which is a powerful language for manipulating and analyzing very large data, and plan to use it as your choice for the first homework assignment, I encourage you to purchase the following reference.

Rick Aster. 2017. Professional SAS Programmers Pocket Reference. It is available for $25 new copy on Amazon, and it is less for older versions.

If you want to buy an instructional manual in SAS then many people like the following.

Delwiche, Lora D., and Susan J. Slaughter. The little SAS book: a primer. SAS institute. It is only $5 used for the 5th edition (2016) although the 6th edition (2019) is $54 with few used copies available. I find that the changes are trivial and not worth worrying about for learning SAS. I will hand out SAS training material sufficient to do the homework assignments and have some copies that can be rented for the term.

Everyone in the course is encouraged to read  the following. (You could share one with a classmate.)

Richard Thaler. 2016. Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics Paperback: used from $5 on Amazon, Electronic $8.98 on Amazon

This highly accessible and entertaining book gives an excellent overview of behavioral economics and rebuts with evidence and logic the usual assumption that Humans always act as rational Econs. We will also be modeling that Human Doctors behave differently than Hippocratic Doctors.

You are invited to read/scan the following. (You could share one with a classmate or borrow a copy from me.)

Elisabeth Askin and  Nathan Moore. 2014. The Health Care Handbook: A Clear and Concise Guide to the United States Health Care System. 2nd Edition Paperback – November 15, 2014

Paper:  $12-15.99 on Amazon    Electronic: $8.99 on Amazon

Original articles, review articles and working papers will be the primary readings. Articles will be posted on the course web site (Accessible only to the BU community with a BU password).

If you are interested in behavioral economics, then the following classic book is also recommended.

Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast & Slow [Paperback]  October 2011

My goal is that 20% of the course reflects my recent passion for behavioral economics.

See course outline for detailed readings and calendar.

See slides and handouts page for prospective and past copies of slides and handouts.  Many of these will be updated.

Please know and adhere to the BU Academic Conduct Code. I like to encourage collaboration between students, however your written responses on assignments, the midterm and finals should be your own words. Joint papers or homework are allowed with explicit coauthorship.

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