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Measuring the societal value of lifetime health



This paper considers two societal concerns in addition to health maximisation: first, concerns for the societal value of lifetime health for an individual; and second, concerns for the value of lifetime health across individuals. Health-related social welfare functions (HRSWFs) have addressed only the second concern. We propose a model that expresses the former in a metric – the adult healthy-year equivalent (AHYE) – that can be incorporated into standard HRSWFs. An empirical study based on this formulation shows that both factors matter: health losses in childhood are weighted more heavily than losses in adulthood and respondents wish to reduce inequalities in AHYEs.

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