The future of health economics: The potential of behavioral and experimental economics


  • Fredrik Hansen Department of Economics, Lund University, Sweden
  • Anders Anell Department of Business Administration, Lund University, Sweden
  • Ulf-G Gerdtham Department of Economics, Lund University, Sweden; Division of Health Economics, Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund University, Sweden
  • Carl Hampus Lyttkens Department of Economics, Lund University, Sweden



Health economics, Behavioral economics, Experimental economics, Pluralism


Health care systems around the globe are facing great challenges. The demand for health care is increasing due to the continuous development of new medical technologies, changing demographics, increasing income levels, and greater expectations from patients. The possibilities and willingness to expand health care resources, however, are limited. Consequently, health care organizations are increasingly required to take economic restrictions into account, and there is an urgent need for improved efficiency. It is reasonable to ask whether the health economics field of today is prepared and equipped to help us meet these challenges. Our aim with this article is twofold: to introduce the fields of behavioral and experimental economics and to then identify and characterize health economics areas where these two fields have a promising potential. We also discuss the advantages of a pluralistic view in health economics research, and we anticipate a dynamic future for health economics.

Published: Online May 2015. In print December 2015.