The analytical approach of standard health economics has so far failed to sufficiently account for the nature of care.  This has important ramifications for the analysis and valuation of care, and therefore for the pattern of health and medical care provision. This book sets out an alternative approach, which places care at the center of an economics of health, showing how essential it is that care is appropriately recognized in policy as a means of enhancing the dignity of the individual.

Whereas traditional health economics has tended to eschew value issues, this book embraces them, introducing care as a normative element at the center of theoretical analysis. Drawing upon care theory from feminist works, philosophy, nursing and medicine, and political economy, the authors develop a health care economics with a moral basis in health care systems. In providing deeper insights into the nature of care and caring, this book seeks to redress the shortcomings of the standard approach and contribute to the development of a more person-based approach to health and medical care in economics.

Health Care Economics will be of interest to researchers and postgraduate students in health economics, heterodox economists, and those interested in health and medical care.

List of illustrations


Preface and acknowledgements

Chapter 1 – Health care economics

1.1 Introduction: mainstream ‘health’ care economics?

1.2 The microeconomics of health care markets: principalagent theory, moral hazard, and care

1.3 Care as a market externality: caring externalities

1.4 The problematic nature of caring externalities

1.5 Care and the socially embedded individual

1.6 An alternative health economics

1.7 Outline of the argument of the book

Part I – Health care notions: health economics and the biomedical approach

Chapter 2 – Health care, medical care, and the biomedical bpproach

2.1 Introduction: health care and medical care

2.2 Medical care: the biomedical approach

2.3 Health economics and the biomedical approach

2.4 The biomedical approach to medical care: issues and concerns

2.5 Delineating medical care and health care

Chapter 3 – On identifying and categorizing health and medical care

3.1 Introduction

3.2 The array and types of health care

3.3 Delivery levels of medical care

3.4 Medical (and health) care as distinctive measures

3.5 Some concluding thoughts

Part II – Theories of care: towards health and medical care

Chapter 4 – Economics and care

4.1 Introduction

4.2 Care in "early" economic thought

4.3 Kenneth Boulding: health economist?

4.4 Gavin Mooney on health care: from community ties to participation to reciprocity

4.5 Caring labor as a characteristic human activity: feminist economics

Chapter 5 – Capturing care

5.1 Introduction

5.2 An overarching definition of care?

5.3 Care of the self

5.4 The aims of care

5.5 Phases and types of care

5.6 Some final thoughts

Part III – Care systems, human flourishing, and policy

Chapter 6 – Institutions, groups, and the morality of care

6.1 Introduction

6.2 Institutions and institutional economics

6.3 Health and medical care institutions: medical pluralism and the three sectors of health care

6.4 Moral groups of care

6.5 Medical groups of care

Chapter 7 – Developing capabilities and the dignity of the individual

7.1 Introduction

7.2 Health capabilities and their social embeddeness in care relationships

7.3 The values of socially embedded health capabilities

7.4 The nature of the person as a focus of care in socially embedded care relationships

Chapter 8 – Social values in health care systems

8.1 Introduction

8.2 Public health and the social causes of inequalities in health

8.3 Public health and health capability improvement

8.4 The normative objectives of health care systems

8.5 The institutional and normative foundations of health care

Chapter 9 –Towards dignity in comprehensive health caring

9.1 The polarity in conceptions of care

9.2 The importance of dignity

9.3 Health policy for today and the future

9.4 Whither economics?