Billy Foster, PhD

Billy Foster

Clinical Assistant Professor of Economics at

Find me on:

           

Quotations

The state — or, to make matters more concrete, the government — consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can’t get, and to promise to give it to them. Nine times out of ten that promise is worth nothing. The tenth time it is made good by looting ‘A’ to satisfy ‘B’. In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is a sort of advanced auction on stolen goods. — Henry Louis Mencken, Prejudices, First Series (1919)

Posts Tagged ‘health economics’

Health Economics
Course numbers:
UIC – ECON 215
Loyola – ECON 329
FULL SYLLABI:
UIC | Loyola

“America’s health care system is neither healthy, caring, nor a system.”

- Walter Cronkite

INTRODUCTION

This course will cover supply and demand for health services, the role of insurance in the health care industry, public policy issues, cost and quality regulation. Upon completion of this course you will be able to:

  • Use cost-benefit analysis to evaluate health related topics.
  • Apply economic principles to the production of health and health capital.
  • Use economic tools to analyze health insurance markets.
  • Understand the basics of the health care labor market.

REQUIRED TEXTS

The Economics of Health and Health Care, Seventh Edition
Sherman Folland, Allen C. Goodman, Miron Stano
ISBN-13: 978-0132773690

Irrationality in Health Care: What Behavioral Economics Reveals About What We Do and Why
Douglas E. Hough
ISBN-13: 978-0804777971

Prof. Adam Martin explains how the drug war has altered incentives for both drug buyers and sellers, leading them to favor higher potency drugs. This is what economists call the potency effect.

Prof. Angela Dills discusses the economics of drug prohibition.

Even the commode is not immune from economic activity. I find two examples especially interesting.

The law of demand states that as something becomes more expensive, people choose to consume less of it. Electronic towel dispensers are a perfect example of this concept involving non-monetary prices. Pulling our own paper towels is no great task, so why do these machines exist? I suggest towels from automated Washroom Signmachines purposely cost more to users by requiring more time per sheet. Because of the higher price, the restroom operator knows that fewer towels will be taken per wash. As fewer towels are consumed, less restocking occurs, and eventually the room operates at a lower cost.

Similarly, bathroom attendants make hand-washing more costly. If you choose to tip bathroom attendants, handwashing becomes more expensive. Attendants can also make those who do not tip feel uncomfortable or annoyed, thereby raising their costs. For both groups, handwashing costs more, so people choose to have less of it. Economic reasoning allows us to see the public health implications associated with letting an attendant set up shop.

There is another interesting story here. To see it, you need to note that handwashing and trips to the lavatory are complements (items consumed together). Theory states that as the price of a complement good (handwashing) increases, people will demand less of the original good (stops at the loo). The punch line is that washroom attendants drive people to use bathrooms less frequently, which is rough news for our poor bladders.

Hans Rosling’s famous lectures combine enormous quantities of public data with a sport’s commentator’s style to reveal the story of the world’s past, present and future development. Now he explores stats in a way he has never done before – using augmented reality animation.

A look at some kids asked to endure the pain that is patience.