Marcella Alsan Photo

Marcella Alsan

Angelopoulos Professor of Public Policy


The goal of this course is to provide students with an economic perspective on disease, health systems and health equity so that they can develop an evidence-based toolkit for analyzing and debating health policies. We will discuss the contributions of economics, both from the neoclassical perspective (e.g., Grossman and Arrow) and the instrumental perspective (e.g., Anand and Sen). We will introduce different types of health systems and spend time on specific types of diseases that are causes of much morbidity – nutrition-related and mental health disease. Special topics include racial health inequality, health care for incarcerated individuals, and innovation and inequality. Most of our readings will come from economics, but we will also include viewpoints from related disciplines (i.e., public health, anthropology, and sociology). We will contrast policies and outcomes in the U.S. to that of other countries. Lastly, we will discuss emerging evidence on the role of private equity and lobbying on the design and performance of health care systems.