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McMaster is home to vibrant research programs that span the full range of topics in health economics, the full set of methodological approaches used in health economics, and the continuum from foundational economics science to research that directly informs specific health policy questions.

Health economics research at McMaster encompasses:

Economics of health, including the determinants of health in populations, measuring the health of populations, and understanding the consequences of ill health;
Economics of health care systems, including the financing and funding of care, the organization of the delivery system, and the behaviours of health system stakeholders;
Economic evaluation of technologies, services and programs, with particularly interesting new and emerging technologies that challenge modern health care systems.

Health economics research at McMaster:

  • Employs the full set of methodological approaches, including sophisticated econometric methods, experimental economic methods, qualitative methods, and mixed methods;
  • Advances both the academic discipline of health economics and our understanding of specific health sector problems through collaborative, interdisciplinary research;
  • Supported through grants from national and international health research agencies valued in the millions of dollars each year, and employs over 30 research staff appointed in departments and health research centres;
  • Of the highest quality, published regularly in the best health economics, health policy and health services research and clinical journals internationally.

Key Areas of Research

Below we list some key areas of current research.  More detail regarding specific research projects and papers can be found on the web pages of individual faculty members and/or relevant research units such as the Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis (CHEPA)

Determinants of Health and Health Inequalities

  • Measurement of health inequality in populations;
  • Impact of income and socioeconomic factors on health inequalities;
  • Role of health in intergenerational transmission of income inequality;
  • Impact of child health and abuse on adult outcomes;
  • The relationship between health behaviours, health outcomes and social position;
  • Impact of labour market conditions of physical and mental health;
  • Social capital and health inequalities in France;
  • Determinants of sickness leaves;
  • Conceptual frameworks for thinking about the determinants of population health.

Equity in Health Systems

  • Methods for and estimation of horizontal equity in the utilization of health care services;
  • Impact of health policies on equity in the utilization of health care;
  • Public preferences regarding equity in health and health care;
  • The distributions of risks to health, utilization of health care, and outcomes from interventions within populations.

Health Care Financing

  • Public and private roles in health care financing;
  • Parallel systems of public and private finance;
  • The individual and social benefits of health care insurance;
  • Health insurance and access to care, especially for low-income populations;
  • User charges in health care;
  • Coverage decision making.

Health Care Funding and Resource Allocation

  • Development of needs-based capitation payment formulae for geographically defined and enrolled populations;
  • Provider responses to payment incentives;
  • Provider remuneration and system funding models in the context of public health;
  • Challenges of cross-sectoral policy development and resource re-allocation to improve action on the individual determinants of the health of populations.

Health Human Resources

  • Development and application of a population needs-based analytic framework;
  • Task shifting;
  • Stepped care and its impact on healthcare expenditure.

Health Technology Assessment

  • Numerous projects underway regarding the assessment of specific health care technologies;
  • Development of methods for the economic assessment of health care technologies;
  • Health technology assessment and policy decision making.

Economics of Aging

  • Economic benefits of health aging;
  • Aging and public health expenditures;
  • Age and medical progress.

Economics of Health Behaviours

  • The impact of public policies on health behaviours. For example:
    - the impact of fiscal policies on tobacco, alcohol and cannabis use;
    - the impact of packaging policies on tobacco use.
  • Cigarette tax avoidance and evasion.

Methods of Economics Analysis

  • Econometric-based methods of program evaluation;
  • Longitudinal methods for health data;
  • Methods for the economic evaluation of health care technologies, services and programs;
  • Application of experimental economic methods to health research.