Accounting for health

Calculation, paperwork, and medicine, 1500–2000

Edited by Axel C. Hüntelmann and Oliver Falk

Accounting for health


  • Hardcover

Book Information

  • Format: eBook
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-3518-6
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Published Date: January 2021
  • BIC Category: Economics, finance, business & management / Economic history, Humanities / Social & cultural history, Finance & Accounting, Medicine / History of medicine, History of Medicine, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Economic Policy, HISTORY / Social History, MEDICAL / History
  • Series: Social Histories of Medicine


Whether in the Swiss countryside or in a doctor's office in Boston, in German, English or French hospitals or within multinational organizations, with early vaccinations or with new pharmaceuticals from Big Pharma today, or in early modern Saxon mining towns or in Prussian military healthcare - for at least 500 years, accounting has been an essential part of medical practice with significant moral, social and epistemological implications. Covering the period between 1500-2000, the book examines in short case studies the importance of calculative practices for medicine in very different contexts. Thus, Accounting for Health offers a synopsis of the extent to which accounting not only influenced medical practices over centuries, but shaped modern medicine as a whole.


Introduction - Axel C Hüntelmann and Oliver Falk

Part I: Keeping the books
1 Accounting, religion, and the economics of medical care in sixteenth-century Germany: Hiob Finzel's Rationarium praxeos medicae, 1565-89 - Michael Stolberg
2 'Making a living': Accounting and the medical market in and around Geneva, 1760-1820 - Philip Rieder
3 Accounted bodies and counted cases: Elliott Joslin's diabetes research, 1898-1950 - Oliver Falk

Part II: Household
4 Economies of the hospital, 1790-1910 - Axel C Hüntelmann
5 Contrasting accounting practices in the urban hospitals of England and France, 1890s to 1930s - Barry M. Doyle
6 Reforming on paper: Accounting practices in the Leuven Academic Hospitals, 1920-60 - Joris Vandendriessche
7 Asylum accounts in health and in money - Theodore M. Porter

Part III: Production
8 Charitable accounting: The Royal Jennerian Society and vaccine production - Andrea Rusnock
9 The industry of clinical trials and the rise of medico-economic accounting: The case of antidepressants, 1970-90 - Jean-Paul Gaudillière and Volker Hess
10 Accounting for Esther Smucker: The Mennonite Church, the US National Institutes of Health and the trade in healthy bodies, 1950-70 - Laura Stark

Part IV: Polity
11 States of healing in early modern Germany: Military healthcare and the management of manpower - Sebastian Pranghofer
12 Miners' chest: How performative accounting forged the ills of industry - J. Andrew Mendelsohn
13 Administrating sickness: Th e workings of an all-female sickness fund, 1898-1931 - Helene Castenbrandt
14 The health of nations: International health accounting in historical perspective, 1925-2011 - Christopher Sirrs



Axel C. Hüntelmann is Research Fellow in the Institute for the History and Ethics of Medicine at the Charité - University of Medicine Berlin

Oliver Falk is Research Fellow in the Institute of Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine at the University of Zurich

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