The Cambridge Handbook of the Social Sciences in Australia

By Ian McAllister; Steve Dowrick et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter 4
Health Economics
Jane Hall

The recognition of health economics as a specialised area of study within economics is often dated to the late 1960s and early 1970s, a period that coincided with the rapid growth of health care expenditure in all developed economies (Culyer and Newhouse 2000). Much of the increasing budget was borne by governments as new social programs were initiated to provide access for the poor, the elderly and otherwise disadvantaged groups. Yet there was no obvious gain in population health, and mounting criticism of the futility of, if not harm due to, modern medicine. Nonetheless, public demand for medical care continued to grow exponentially.

Economists' attention was thus drawn to the health sector. The analysis of health care as a special commodity, often dated to Arrow (1963), laid the foundations for the economic analysis of the health sector. There is nothing special about the economic analysis applied to this sector; as Fuchs (1989) has pointed out, it draws from finance and insurance, industrial organisation, labour, public finance, and welfare, but it requires also a detailed knowledge of health technology and institutions.

The field has grown rapidly and become increasingly specialised – for a description of its history, see Culyer and Newhouse (2000).There are now four health economics journals, the Journal of Health Economics (established in 1982), Health Economics (1992), the Journal of Health Care Financing (2000) and, more recently, the European Journal of Health Economics. The Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics and Pharmacoeconomics are aimed at a particular clinical/policy audience. Social Science and Medicine carries a substantial health economics content, as do several health policy and technology assessment journals. In addition to the general economics journals, much health economics can be found in medical, public health and other journals aimed at health professionals.

In Australia, the beginnings of health economics are inextricably linked with the names of Deeble and Scotton and their work on the financing and delivery of health care.The policy impact of this was immense, providing the basis for universal, publicly financed health care, first as Medibank in 1975, and then as Medicare in 1984. However, from the 1960s to the 1980s, an academic base for Australian health economics was slow to develop; what little work was done was often prompted by official inquiries and constrained by the lack of data (Richardson and Wallace 1982). There have been substantial developments since then.The Australian Health Economics Society,

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The Cambridge Handbook of the Social Sciences in Australia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents v
  • Figures and Tables vii
  • Contributors x
  • Preface and Acknowledgements xviii
  • Introduction 1
  • References 13
  • Part 1 - Economics 15
  • Chapter 1 - Privatisation 17
  • References 27
  • Chapter 2 - Competition Policy and Regulation 31
  • References 40
  • Chapter 3 - Economics and the Environment 45
  • References 57
  • Chapter 4 - Health Economics 60
  • References 70
  • Chapter 5 - Immigration 74
  • References 87
  • Chapter 6 - Labour Market and Industrial Relations 94
  • References 113
  • Chapter 7 - Income Distribution and Redistribution 118
  • References 134
  • Chapter 8 - Taxation 138
  • References 148
  • Chapter 9 - Innovation 153
  • References 165
  • Chapter 10 - International Trade and Industry Policies 168
  • References 180
  • Chapter 11 - The Macro Economy 186
  • Notes 199
  • References 200
  • Chapter 12 - Money and Banking 203
  • References 216
  • Part 2 - Political Science 221
  • Chapter 13 - Political Theory 223
  • References 231
  • Chapter 14 - Federalism and the Constitution 234
  • References 246
  • Chapter 15 - Legislative Institutions 249
  • References 260
  • Chapter 16 - Political Parties and Electoral Behaviour 266
  • References 283
  • Chapter 17 - Electoral Systems 287
  • References 302
  • Chapter 18 - Gender Politics 305
  • References 319
  • Chapter 19 - Interest Groups and Social Movements 323
  • References 339
  • Chapter 20 - Environmental Policy and Politics 345
  • References 355
  • Chapter 21 - International Relations 358
  • Notes 368
  • References 369
  • Chapter 22 - Political Economy 374
  • References 391
  • Chapter 23 - Public Policy and Public Administration 406
  • References 422
  • Part 3 - Sociology 431
  • Chapter 24 - Patterns of Social Inequality 433
  • References 457
  • Chapter 25 - Families and Households 462
  • References 477
  • Chapter 26 - Gender Perspectives 480
  • References 493
  • Chapter 27 - Work and Employment 499
  • Notes 511
  • References 512
  • Chapter 28 - Crime and Deviance 518
  • References 531
  • Chapter 29 - Health and Illness 536
  • References 552
  • Chapter 30 - Population 554
  • References 569
  • Chapter 31 - Race, Ethnicity and Immigration 573
  • Notes 585
  • References 586
  • Chapter 32 - Urban and Regional Sociology 590
  • Reference 598
  • Chapter 33 - Rural Sociology 604
  • Reference 619
  • Chapter 34 - Religion and Spirituality 626
  • Reference 632
  • Chapter 35 - Cultural Studies, Australian Studies and Cultural Sociology 638
  • References 651
  • Chapter 36 - Sociological Theory 654
  • References 664
  • Chapter 37 - Social Policy and Social Welfare 666
  • References 674
  • Author Index 678
  • Subject Index 696
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