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Are people consistent when trading time for health?

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  • Oliver, Adam
  • Wolff, Jonathan

Abstract

The conventional, or standard, time trade-off (TTO) procedure, which is used to elicit the values that people place on health states that are in turn required to calculate quality adjusted life-years (QALYs), asks respondents to trade off fewer life years for better health. It is possible to reverse the procedure to ask respondents to trade off less health for more life years. Theoretically, these two procedures should generate the same TTO values for any given health state. This article reports that for health states defined by differing frequencies of migraine attack, the standard TTO gives health state values that are significantly higher than those given by the reverse TTO. The observed systematic procedural invariance, which substantiates some previous findings reported in the literature and is consistent with a loss aversion effect, challenges the validity of the TTO for generating reliable valuations of health states.

Suggested Citation

  • Oliver, Adam & Wolff, Jonathan, 2014. "Are people consistent when trading time for health?," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 15(C), pages 41-46.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:15:y:2014:i:c:p:41-46
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2014.05.001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard H, 1990. "Experimental Tests of the Endowment Effect and the Coase Theorem," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1325-1348, December.
    2. Bleichrodt, Han & Pinto, Jose Luis & Maria Abellan-Perpinan, Jose, 2003. "A consistency test of the time trade-off," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(6), pages 1037-1052, November.
    3. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1991. "Loss Aversion in Riskless Choice: A Reference-Dependent Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1039-1061.
    4. Arthur E. Attema & Werner B. F. Brouwer, 2008. "Can we fix it? Yes we can! But what? A new test of procedural invariance in TTO-measurement," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(7), pages 877-885.
    5. Dolan, Paul & Jones-Lee, Michael, 1997. "The time trade-off: A note on the effect of lifetime reallocation of consumption and discounting," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 731-739, December.
    6. Arthur Attema & Werner Brouwer, 2012. "The way that you do it? An elaborate test of procedural invariance of TTO, using a choice-based design," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 13(4), pages 491-500, August.
    7. Han Bleichrodt, 2002. "A new explanation for the difference between time trade-off utilities and standard gamble utilities," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(5), pages 447-456.
    8. Anne Spencer, 2003. "The TTO method and procedural invariance," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(8), pages 655-668.
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