Good health is a crucial part of wellbeing. Unfortunately, many people around the world – in particular the poor and other marginalized groups – still lack access to affordable and quality care. Challenges in health care access are particularly pronounced in countries in the tropics which continue to suffer a heavy burden of disease with governments facing problems in the provision of health services and rising health system costs.

 

Towards a more innovative, equal, and evidence-based vision for global health  

The Health Economics research group is dedicated to work on innovative, viable, and context-specific solutions to address global health challenges with a particular focus on tropical countries. As part of its research the group aims to:

  • Measure Impacts: Establishing causal impacts and mechanisms of large-scale national and global health interventions
  • Test Innovations: Identify and test innovations to improve delivery of public health services and interventions
  • Address inequalities: Explore interventions to increase health access for marginalized groups such as the poor, people with disabilities, and ethno-religious minorities   
  • Cost-effectiveness: Assess the sustainability and model the cost-effectiveness of health interventions


The Health Economics research group combines insights from a number of economic sub-disciplines such as behavioral economics, education economics, labor economics, and population economics and links to various other disciplines such as anthropology, epidemiology, information technology, psychology, sociology, and statistics. It approaches its work from three levels: 

  • Individuals & households: Ensuring the health and wellbeing of individuals and households is a priority focus of health policies. Besides measuring the impact of interventions on health outcomes, it is crucial to understand individual- and households-level health decision making. In many contexts, resource constraints, lack of adequate information and knowledge, cognitive resources/biases/heuristics prevent optimal behavior of individuals & households with negative impacts on health and welfare.
  • Local communities: Local communities play a vital role in the effective implementation of national and global health interventions and policies. Besides aspects of autonomy, wealth, and infrastructure, local-level social and religious norms in combination with traditional organizations, authorities, and leadership often determine the success and failure of public policies. Consequently, better understanding the local context and how to modify public health interventions remains a policy priority.
  • Health systems: The organization of people, institutions, and resources that deliver health care services differ across and within countries. The organization in combination with personal motivation, skills, capacities, preferences and incentive structures of nurses, doctors, and health workers can impact the quality of provided services. As a result designing effective health policies and programs such as disease outbreak responses & surveillance, health insurance schemes, pay-for-performance schemes, digital/mHealth solutions, and capacity-building need to be re-aligned with the prevailing health system context and individual & organizational incentives.

 

Lastly, the Health Economics research group is deeply committed to interdisciplinary and multisectoral approaches such One Health, Planetary Health, and EcoHealth that emphasize the connections between humans, animals, and the environment. In this context the working group aims to address research and policy gaps with respect to zoonotic diseases, food safety, antimicrobial resistance, and climate change.