Working Papers, Department of Economics, Lund University
Carl Hampus Lyttkens
Health, Economics and Ancient Greek Medicine
Abstract: A period of two and a half millennia separates us from the
Classical period of ancient Greece. Nevertheless, looking at ancient Greek
medicine from the perspective of modern health economics is an interesting
endeavour in that it increases our understanding of the ancient world and
provides insights into contemporary society. Ancient Greece is rightly
famous for pioneering secular and scientific medicine, but equally
noteworthy is the prominence of healing cults, such as that of Asklepios.
In this paper, the market for secular physicians is illuminated with tools
from modern economics, for example the concern for the physician’s
reputation. The simultaneous emergence in ancient Greece of a scientific
and rational approach to medicine and the proliferation of religious
medicine provides an interesting vantage point for a study of the current
market for alternative medicine. Similar circumstances arguably lie behind
the dual nature of the health market that was present then and is still
present now. The underlying mechanism in both periods is hypothesised to be
increased uncertainty in everyday life.
Keywords: health; economics; medicine; ancient Greece; alternative; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: I11; N33; (follow links to similar papers)
32 pages, January 28, 2011
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- This paper is published as:
Lyttkens, Carl Hampus, (2011), 'Health, Economics and Ancient Greek Medicine', The Journal of Economic Asymmetries, Vol. 8, pages 165-192
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