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Do taboo trade-offs explain the difficulty in valuing health and social interventions?

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  • Shiell, Alan
  • Sperber, Daniel
  • Porat, Carly
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    Abstract

    Persistent anomalies in the results of willingness to pay studies, despite improvements in measurement technique, challenge the assumption in economics that all sources of value are commensurable. Two sources of incommensurability have been identified: interdimensional incommensurability, which refers to the cognitive difficulty that people encounter when trying to assign a monetary value to health; and constitutive incommensurability, which arises when some forms of trade-off are regarded as 'taboo'. In this paper we explore whether the notion of taboo trade-offs might explain some of the difficulties experienced in health-related willingness to pay studies.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6W5H-4WM0J9W-2/2/92f817f77950a54892cf176bbbde3863
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics).

    Volume (Year): 38 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 6 (December)
    Pages: 935-939

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:38:y:2009:i:6:p:935-939

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/620175

    Related research

    Keywords: Taboo trade-offs Willingness to pay Altruism Incommensurability Valuing health;

    References

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    1. Laughland, Andrew S. & Musser, Wesley N. & Musser, Lynn M., 1994. "An Experiment In Contingent Valuation And Social Desirability," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 23(1), April.
    2. Richard D. Smith, 2004. "The Reliability of Willingness to Pay for Changes in Health Status," Applied Health Economics and Health Policy, Springer Healthcare | Adis, vol. 3(1), pages 35-38.
    3. Alan Shiell & Penelope Hawe, 2006. "Test-retest reliability of willingness to pay," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 173-178, September.
    4. M. R. Bhatia & J. A. Fox-Rushby, 2003. "Validity of Willingness to Pay: hypothetical versus actual payment," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(12), pages 737-740.
    5. Shiell, Alan & Rush, Bonnie, 2003. "Can willingness to pay capture the value of altruism? An exploration of Sen's notion of commitment," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 647-660, December.
    6. Richard Cookson, 2003. "Willingness to pay methods in health care: a sceptical view," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(11), pages 891-894.
    7. Klose, Thomas, 1999. "The contingent valuation method in health care," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 97-123, May.
    8. Shiell, Alan & Gold, Lisa, 2002. "Contingent valuation in health care and the persistence of embedding effects without the warm glow," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 251-262, April.
    9. Zo� Philips & David K. Whynes & Mark Avis, 2006. "Testing the construct validity of willingness to pay valuations using objective information about risk and health benefit," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(2), pages 195-204.
    10. Ajzen, Icek & Brown, Thomas C. & Rosenthal, Lori H., 1996. "Information Bias in Contingent Valuation: Effects of Personal Relevance, Quality of Information, and Motivational Orientation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 43-57, January.
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