Is more health always better for society? Exploring public preferences that violate monotonicity
There has recently been some literature on the properties of a Health-Related Social Welfare Function (HRSWF). The aim of this article is to contribute to the analysis of the different properties of a HRSWF, paying particular attention to the monotonicity principle. For monotonicity to be fulfilled, any increase in individual health—other things equal—should result in an increase in social welfare. We elicit public preferences concerning trade-offs between the total level of health (concern for efficiency) and its distribution (concern for equality), under different hypothetical scenarios through face-to-face interviews. Of key interests are: the distinction between non-monotonic preferences and Rawlsian preferences; symmetry of HRSWF; and the extent of inequality neutral preferences. The results indicate strong support for non-monotonic preferences, over Rawlsian preferences. Furthermore, the majority of those surveyed had preferences that were consistent with a symmetric and inequality averse HRSWF. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2013
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