Health Economics at ZEW Starts off Successfully


The “Health Care Markets and Health Policy” Project Group, which took up its work at ZEW Mannheim on 1 January 2021, can chalk up a great success just a few weeks after it was set up. Its funding application for a major research project in the field of health economics was granted by the state of Baden-Württemberg. The ZEW project is one of 17 projects that will be funded as part of the “Forum Gesundheitsstandort Baden-Württemberg” this year and with a total of 51.9 million euros next year.

“The aim of our project is to better understand the economic requirements for good health care and to strengthen research in health economics in Baden-Württemberg. The fact that the state strongly supports this endeavour shows us that we are on the right track with establishing health research at ZEW,” explains ZEW President Professor Achim Wambach. For some years now, ZEW has been increasingly working on projects related to the health care market, including the degree of digitalisation in the health care sector, the procurement of health care products and redistribution in health insurance.

The new “Health Care Markets and Health Policy” Project Group centres on the two areas ‘medical service provision’ and ‘individual health’. “In our work, we analyse routine, survey and experimental data on the behaviour of health care providers and patients. Our focus is to evaluate policy instruments using modern econometric methods,” says Dr. Simon Reif, who heads the new project group at ZEW.

In the research area ‘medical service provision’, topics such as the reimbursement for medical services, regional health care provision, the behaviour of health professionals and innovations in the health industry are addressed. In the research area ‘individual health’, factors such as work, education and family are analysed in relation to individual health. Recent projects also examine the effects of medical interventions, especially new patient-oriented digital health applications, on individual health and their cost-benefit ratio.

Health economics research has become even more important in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, says Dr. Simon Reif: “Access to health care, the distribution of health care goods, but also factors influencing individual health have always been important topics for society. The pandemic, of course, has far-reaching effects on all these topics. Therefore, the funding from the state of Baden-Württemberg comes just at the right time for our project group at ZEW.”