Economics is a social science that examines how resources, particularly scarce resources, are produced, distributed, and consumed. Health economics is a field of study that applies the principles of economics to the study of health care. Economic considerations are integral to any discussion of health care policy or expenditure. In addition, principles derived from economic concepts are applied in many aspects of epidemiology. For instance, ‘quality-adjusted life years,’ which are fundamental to an understanding of disability epidemiology, use the economic concepts of utility to express numerically the value of a year of life in differing states of health. This entry reviews the basic principles of the market and the important concepts that come into play when analyzing the medical markets and policies in these markets. ...

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