This resource helps me stay in touch with colleagues, students, and collaborators who study the economic issues encountered in public health policy, systems and practice. There are numerous economics blogs out there now, several of which regularly examine medical care delivery and financing issues, but none of these venues spends much time considering the economics of public health strategies — the organized programs and policies designed to prevent disease and injury and promote health on a population wide basis. Of the 30 additional years of life expectancy gained by Americans over the last century, an estimated 25 of them are attributable not to medical care advances (think therapeutics) but to public health strategies (think prevention) implemented through both government and private action. Public goods problems, externalities, information asymmetries, market power, government failures, time inconsistencies, political economy puzzles, fiscal federalism issues, allocation and efficiency problems, distributive mechanisms, cost effectiveness questions — all of these issues can be found in droves within public health policy and practice. Only by understanding and managing these economic issues can we meet the growing imperative to maximize the amount of health produced with the resources society invests within the health system.
About the author: Glen P. Mays studies and teaches health policy and health systems at the Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado. He serves as professor and chair of the Department of Health Systems, Management and Policy, and also directs the national program office for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Systems for Action research program. He received an A.B. in political science from Brown University (1992), M.P.H. (1996) and Ph.D. degrees (1999) in health services research from UNC-Chapel Hill, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in health economics (2000) at Harvard Medical School. Previously, Mays directed the National Center for Public Health Services and Systems Research and the Public Health Practice-Based Research Networks (PBRN) Program, both funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and based at the University of Kentucky.
All content appearing on this blog is copyright (c) 2013-2019 by Glen P. Mays. All rights are reserved. Short sections of text, not to exceed two paragraphs, may be quoted without permission provided that full credit is given to the author and source, including URL. This content is circulated for discussion and comment purposes only and does not necessarily represent the views of the University of Colorado, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, or other funding sources. All errors and omissions are the responsibility of the author.
Glad to see that the field of public health economics is gaining momentum. You may want to check my paper on Public Goods and Externalities; A Research Agenda for Public Health Economics at: