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Health Economics

Health Economics

Health economics draws together the ideas and tools of various fields of economics including econometrics, public finance, labour market economics, and industrial organization to study the economics of health and health care systems. These are combined with sector-specific institutional knowledge both to study and to contribute policy advice regarding the health sector.


Topics are diverse including, for example, tax policy concerning health-related behaviours, payment models for the health workforce, insurance and financing schemes for health care, equity in health and health care, the dynamics of health, and determinants of physical and mental health outcomes.


Paul Conotoyannis

Head of the Health Research Unit (Athens Institute for Education and Research [ATINER]) | Associate Professor


My research focuses on health economics and microeconometrics. Recent work has looked at the dynamics of depression in adolescence in the United States and the effects of the delisting of high strength opioids on the prescription of opioids in Ontario, and changes to the insurance coverage of under 25’s on the prescription of antidepressants in Ontario. Other work is focused on the effects of recent changes to the benefit system on opioid and antidepressant prescribing in the United Kingdom.

Michel Grignon 

Associate Scientist of Institut de Recherche et Documentation en Èconomie de la Santé | Editor-in-chief of Health Reform Observer – Observatoire des Réformes de Santé | Graduate Chair of the Department of Health, Aging & Society | Professor

Jeremiah Hurley 

Dean of Social Sciences | Director McMaster Decision Science Laboratory (McDSL) | Professor Economics


I am Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences; a professor and former Chair in the Department of Economics; a member of the Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis, and an associate member of the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact (HEI), all at McMaster University.


My research on the economics of health and health care systems includes physician behaviour, funding models and resource association in health care, public and private roles in health care financing, financial incentives in health systems, equity in health systems, normative frameworks in health economics, and the application of experimental economic methods in health research. I have publications in leading health economic, health policy, and health services research journals and have acted as a consultant to regional, provincial, national and international agencies. I am the author of the Canadian health economics textbook, Health Economics.

Arthur Sweetman 

Ontario Research Chair in Health Human Resources | Professor


The majority of my research in health economics is at the intersection with labour economics focusing on the health workforce (i.e., health human resources). This includes program evaluation style analysis examining the impacts of policy changes on practice patterns and patient outcomes. It also includes observational studies focused on understanding the “stylized facts” (empirical trends/relationships) that underpin policy decision-making. Additionally, I do some research looking at health insurance, health behaviours and other aspects of health economics.

Michael Veall 

Academic Director, Statistics Canada Research Data Centre | Professor


My past research in this area was with research teams studying public prescription drug insurance and food insecurity. More recently I have worked with other researchers on the nexus of health, pension receipt and retirement and more broadly on the relationship of income inequality and health.

Jonathan Zhang

Assistant Professor


My main research areas are in health economics and public finance. I study how supply-side factors, policies, and shocks impact individual wellbeing. Much of my research include a focus mental health topics ranging from understanding the determinants and consequences of mental health delivery and substance abuse to the impact of cash transfers for people with mental disabilities. I also collaborate closely with the US Department of Veterans Affairs to evaluate reforms and policies that improve immediate care delivery and long-term outcomes. I received my PhD from Stanford in 2020 and was a postdoctoral scholar at Princeton in 2020-21.

Yihong Bai 

PhD Student


I am a PhD Candidate in Economics at McMaster University. I obtained my Master of Business Economics (MBE) from Brock University (Canada), in 2017, and passed CFA Level 3 exam in 2019. My research interests are Health Economics and Microeconometrics. Currently, I focus on substance use, health behaviour, mental health, and the minimum wage impact on health outcomes.

Akwugo Balogun 

PhD Student

Alyssa Drost 

PhD Student

Sergei Filiasov 

PhD Student


My research in Health Economics focuses on mechanisms through which health shocks to family members affect family financial stability, and family income and its components in general. In particular, I study the role of family structure (e.g., the role of marital status, presence of children and their endogeneity) in alleviating or propagating the effects of cancer on family income and its components. Another area of interest is the application of minimax-regret statistical treatment rules in clinical trial data with multiple treatment arms and with non-linear welfare functions.

Rabiul Islam 

PhD Student

My area of research interest is health economics. I focus on the labor supply and behavior of health care professionals — physicians, nurses, health technologists, and others — in response to policy changes, financial incentives, and changing practice environments. My research utilizes microeconometric frameworks that combine econometrics and health economics. The econometric part of my research focuses on improving estimation quality for better inference using health-related data.

Daniel Tingskou 

PhD Student


My research interests include Health Economics, Population Economics and Population Aging.


One of my dissertation chapters, coauthored with my supervisor Michel Grignon, estimates how the interprovincial migration of physicians in Canada over the past 30 years has been influenced by provincial incorporation laws. Between the years 1990-2019 several provinces enacted legislation which allowed physicians to establish their practices as privately owned corporations, while others had allowed for this prior to 1990. Through a privately owned corporation there is significant potential to increase after tax household income via income splitting and dividend sprinkling with family members. Given the large financial incentives associated with incorporation we found a significant increase in the migration of doctors to provinces that recently allowed for income splitting, compared to when they did not.


Another one of my projects focuses on the political economy of Covid-19 related public health measures. The costs and benefits of such policies are unequally distributed across the population, with large differences existing between age groups, and to smaller extent gender. Using lifetables of the Canadian population and statistics on Covid-19 case fatality rates, unemployment and reductions in consumption I estimate the Net Present Value (NPV) of Covid-19 related government lockdowns at the individual level for each age group between 18 – 100. Despite the large economic costs of lockdowns, for the majority of voting age Canadians the NPV of such lockdowns is positive.

Zichun Zhao 

PhD Student

I am a PhD candidate in Economics at McMaster University. My research interests are in Health Economics and Public Economics. Currently, I am focusing on the impact of public policy on health care utilization, health behaviour and private health insurance availability in Canada, especially regarding public health programs and minimum wages.