At the Chair of Institutional Economics and Health Policy we analyze from an economic perspective the effect of regulatory systems on human behaviour, for example of social market economy rules, and develop proposals for developing such control systems further. We use this general institutional research approach in the health policy field in order to empirically examine the effects of health policy measures; for example the effects on the labour market if the government supports home care provided by relatives.
The Chair of Institutional Economics and Health Policy belongs to the Economics chairs of the faculty. The field of Institutional Economics is part of the Witten Institute for Institutional Change (WIWA). In the field of Health Policy the chair is an integral part of the cross-faculty Dr. Hartmut-Krafft Centre for Economics and Health. The chair is also member of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Health Service Research (IZVF) of Witten/Herdecke University.
The basis of the work at the chair is modern Institutional Economics (IE), also called “new institutional economics”.
IE analyzes diverse kinds of collective rules (i.e. institutions in the economic context), their effect on human behaviour and the repercussions of human behaviour on the development and change of such rules. Following the economic approach of explaining human behaviour, IE analyzes a type of action-relevant restrictions not being considered in the traditional neoclassical world of economic models. We therefore distinguish between formal institutions such as laws and contracts and informal institutions, such as morals, manners and customs. IE thus enlarges the application range of economic analyses.
The principal and agent theory and transaction cost theory are well-known theoretical elements of IE. While the principal and agent theory deals with problems that may arise from a contractual relationship between a client and a contractor, transition cost economics examines the costs incurred by the finalization of transactions via markets or within enterprises. By designing appropriate institutions potential problems of such relationships may be reduced. As a result, the co-operation between the participating parties may be beneficial to both sides.
Renowned representatives of modern institutional economics, like Ronald H. Coase, Oliver E. Williamson, Elinor Ostrom, Oliver Hart, Douglass C. North, George Akerlof or James M. Buchanan, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in recent years.
It is the task of health policy – following the tradition of regulatory policy – to set the rules for health care system stakeholders in such a way that the population is provided with the best possible medical and nursing care. We therefore examine the incentive systems of the stakeholders in health care, in particular of service providers and cost bearers, from the institutional perspective. This concerns, for example, the incentive effects of flat-fee remuneration systems such as DRGs in the hospital sector. Based on the findings, we aim at pointing out potential improvements for the health policy.
From the health care research perspective, all this is complemented by empirical analyses of health policy measures, the direct effects of these measures on the nursing care situation and their side effects on other economic fields. The public support of home care provided by relatives, for example, has an effect on the nursing care of dependent persons. However, it also affects the family carers themselves and may have side effects on the job market if increased home care reduces the labour supply.
It is the aim of the Chair to impart a deeper understanding for the functioning of institutions in different areas of politics and economics. In addition, we would like to raise the students’ interest for an intensive theoretical and empirical addressing of relevant research issues in economics.
We offer courses and seminars as part of the “Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE)” and “Management” Bachelor programmes and of the “Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE)” Master programme.
Our teaching is interactive and with strong practical relevance to actual issues or applications. Within the context of the elective modules we regularly invite experts from the business community to participate in the classes or visit them at their workplace during excursions, for example to the ‘Bundesbank’ (central bank of the Federal Republic of Germany).
Professor Sauerland is responsible for the “Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE)” Bachelor programme.
Within the context of the “Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE)” Bachelor programme, the Chair offers obligatory modules in “Microeconomics” and “Institutional Economics“.
We regularly offer “Monetary Economics” (in English) and “Finance” modules as elective courses. Further courses and modules on current issues in economics are provided intermittently.
Within the context of the “Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE)” Master programme, we regularly provide the following English-language courses:
UW/H nursing scientists and health economists as well as colleagues from universities and research institutes in seven other countries participated in this project. They were looking for good concepts for the treatment and care of persons with dementia across Europe. The EU sponsored the project with three million Euros from January 2010 until summer 2013. The study was conducted in Germany, Spain, France, the UK, Sweden, Finland, Estonia and the Netherlands. The Chair of Institutional Economics and Health Policy was responsible for work package 4, “Economic Evaluation”, and work package 6, “Dissemination”.
Verbeek, Hilde, Meyer, Gabriele, Zabalegui, Adelaida, Hallberg, Ingalill R., Saks, Kai, Soto, Maria E., David Challis, Sauerland, Dirk and Hamers, Jan P.H.: A European study investigating patterns of transition from home care towards institutional dementia care: the protocol of a RightTimePlaceCare study, in: BMC Public Health, 2012, 12:68.
Wübker, Ansgar, Zwakhalen, Sandra M.G., Challis, David, Suhonen, Riitta, Karlsson, Staffan, Zabalegui, Adelaida, Soto, Maria, Saks, Kai und Sauerland, Dirk: Costs of care for people with dementia just before and after nursing home placement: primary data from 8 European countries, in: The European Journal of Health Economics, 16(7)/2015, S. 689–707.
Determinants of hospital selection in Germany
Wübker, Ansgar, Sauerland, Dirk und Wübker, Achim: Beeinflussen bessere Qualitätsinformationen die Krankenhauswahl in Deutschland? Eine theoriegeleitete empirische Untersuchung, in: Jahrbücher für Nationalökonomie und Statistik, 104(2)/2010, S. 467–490.
The development of statutory health insurance expenditures
Sauerland, Dirk und Wübker, Ansgar: Die Entwicklung der Ausgaben in der Gesetzlichen Krankenversicherung bis 2050 – bleibende Herausforderung für die deutsche Gesundheitspolitik, in: Schmollers Jahrbuch, 132/2012, S. 53–88.
Sauerland, Dirk: Die künftige Entwicklung der Ausgaben in der Gesetzlichen Krankenversicherung und ihre Finanzierung, in: Wirtschaftsdienst, 85(10)/2005, S. 672–680.
in co-operation with the Institute for Economics at Technische Universität Ilmenau.
Sauerland, Dirk, Kuchinke, Björn A. und Wübker, Ansgar: Warten gesetzlich Versicherte länger? Zum Einfluss des Versichertenstatus auf den Zugang zu medizinischen Leistungen im stationären Sektor, in: Gesundheitsökonomie & Qualitätsmanagement, 14/2009, S. 86–94.
Kuchinke, Björn A., Sauerland, Dirk und Wübker, Ansgar: The Influence of Insurance Status on Waiting Times in German Hospitals: An Empirical Analysis of New Data, in: International Journal for Equity in Health 8/2009, 44,
The Chair offers postgraduates the opportunity to apply for external doctoral studies if they meet the qualification requirements according to the doctoral degree regulations of the Faculty of Management and Economics.
In order to be accepted as doctoral candidate at the Chair, applicants have to compile a synopsis on the research work planned. This synopsis shall illustrate the theoretical basis and – if intended – the empirical methodology.
The above mentioned research projects and the following doctoral and postdoctoral projects provide an overview of the range of topics for doctoral studies at the Chair:
Dr. Patrick Bremer, Department of “Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Analysen, Volkswirtschaftliche Gesamtrechnungen“ of the Statistical Office of the Federal State of Baden-Wuerttemberg
Dr. Eva Ludwig, Department of “Finanzaufsicht in der Krankenversicherung“ of the German Federal Insurance Office
Dr. Michael T. Müller, Manager Market Access at AOP Orphan Pharmaceuticals
Prof. Dr. Ansgar Wübker, Deputy Head of the “Health Economics” department, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (RWI - institute for economic research)