Course information provided by the Courses of Study 2023-2024.

Risky health behaviors such as cigarette smoking, alcohol abuse, risky sex, drug use, poor diet and physical inactivity (leading to obesity), and self-harm are responsible for hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths and impose billions of dollars in medical care costs each year in the United States. This course teaches the economic approach to studying risky health behaviors. The research literature on the economic causes and correlates of risky health behaviors will be studied. Numerous policies to modify risky health behaviors, such as the minimum legal drinking age and recreational marijuana laws, will be debated in class. We will conduct a policy wargame, with students creating advertisements and giving oral presentations to advocate a specific policy position.  

When Offered Spring.

Distribution Category (SBA-HE)

  • Students will learn how to apply economic theory in order to understand why people engage in risky health behaviors. They will also learn how to use econometrics to estimate the causes and consequences of risky health behaviors, and the effects of policies to prevent and reduce them.
  • Students will complete numerous written assignments in which they evaluate the economic rationale for government policies to modify risky health behaviors, such as the minimum legal drinking age, medicinal marijuana laws, and assisted suicide laws. They will also each give a presentation in a policy wargame, regarding their position on taxing sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • Students will develop critical thinking skills, demonstrating that they can understand and weigh perspectives from multiple disciplines, and interpret data and research studies.

View Enrollment Information

  •   Regular Academic Session.  Combined with: ECON 3710PUBPOL 4280

  • 4 Credits Stdnt Opt

  • 19229 PUBPOL 5290   LEC 080

  • Instruction Mode: In Person
    Taught in Washington, D.C.