This is the online, living version of a textbook I have constructed for a public economics class centered on public health. Previously, we used Gruber’s Public Finance and Public Policy, which is a great textbook, but had two major flaws as far as this course was concerned:

  1. Our students often have little economics background, it is a public health class after all, and Gruber was slightly too advanced for their needs. While I loved reading and teaching from the textbook, it was not the right match for our students.

  2. Gruber uses many public health examples, which makes sense given the content, but feedback from the students indicated they wanted a more focused text with more public health and medical examples.

To address these issues, I went through my old notes, notes from similar sources, and textbooks to create a more public health focused text at a more approachable level for our undergraduate public health majors.

This first version of this was made to support my teaching. I wrote it chapter-by-chapter on demand before teaching the material, often with only a week or so lead time. Essentially no proofreading was possible on that timeline with the other demands of my career and having a newborn at home. As a result, there were errors of spelling, grammar, typographic, and, rarely, content.

This revision has underwent some rewriting, additional content added, and any known mistakes correct. However, errors are almost surely still present.

To correct an error, you can either

  1. Correct the error on the GitHub repo and file a pull request
  2. Report the error on GitHub by filing an issue
  3. Email me at jacob-simmering@uiowa.edu with the subject line “Public Health as Public Good Error.”