IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

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




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

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: link to article abstract page
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    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.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cup:hecopl:v:3:y:2008:i:01:p:85-91_00. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Keith Waters). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.