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Are subjective well-being measures any better than decision utility measures?

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  • SMITH, DYLAN M.
  • BROWN, STEPHANIE L.
  • UBEL, PETER A.

Abstract

There are a number of substantial problems with using decision-based utility measures such as the time trade off and standard gamble to value improvements in health. Dolan (this issue) argues that because of these problems, it would be better to use measures of real experiences (subjective well being). We review evidence that supports criticisms of decision-based utility measures, whether provided by patients or non-patients. But we also review a number of substantial problems with currently used measures of subjective well-being, and point out that there is no definitive evidence that they represent any improvement over decision utility measures. We conclude with a call for expanded research into developing new tools for quantifying health-related quality of life that are more valid, more sensitive to changes in health status, and less biased.

Suggested Citation

  • Smith, Dylan M. & Brown, Stephanie L. & Ubel, Peter A., 2008. "Are subjective well-being measures any better than decision utility measures?," Health Economics, Policy and Law, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(01), pages 85-91, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:hecopl:v:3:y:2008:i:01:p:85-91_00
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    Cited by:

    1. Francisco Caballero & Marta Miret & Beatriz Olaya & Jaime Perales & Ruy López-Ridaura & Josep Haro & Somnath Chatterji & José Ayuso-Mateos, 2014. "Evaluation of Affect in Mexico and Spain: Psychometric Properties and Usefulness of an Abbreviated Version of the Day Reconstruction Method," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 915-935, August.
    2. Mukuria, Clara & Brazier, John, 2013. "Valuing the EQ-5D and the SF-6D health states using subjective well-being: A secondary analysis of patient data," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 97-105.
    3. Adriana Castelli & Rowena Jacobs & Maria Goddard & Peter C Smith, 2009. "Exploring the impact of public services on quality of life indicators," Working Papers 046cherp, Centre for Health Economics, University of York.

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