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Estimating time preferences for health using discrete choice experiments

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Abstract

This study is the first to use discrete choice experiments to elicit inter-temporal preferences for health. Inter-temporal preferences with respect to one's own future health are compared with inter-temporal preferences with respect to others' future health. Discrete choice experiments are used to measure the relative importance of the duration of ill-health and how far in the future the ill-health occurs. Data were collected by postal questionnaire in the UK. The median implied rates of discount range from 0.055 to 0.091 for own health, depending on the period of delay, and from 0.078 to 0.147 for others' health. The implied discount rate varies with respect to age, self-rated health, and version of the questionnaire. The implied discount rates are broadly comparable with other published estimates using closed-ended methods. One concern is the large percentage of respondents with dominant preferences. This issue needs to be explored before adopting the approach of discrete choice experiments to elicit inter-temporal preferences.

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