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Is more health always better for society? Exploring public preferences that violate monotonicity

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  • Ignacio Abásolo
  • Aki Tsuchiya

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

  • Ignacio Abásolo & Aki Tsuchiya, 2013. "Is more health always better for society? Exploring public preferences that violate monotonicity," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 74(4), pages 539-563, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:theord:v:74:y:2013:i:4:p:539-563
    DOI: 10.1007/s11238-011-9292-1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    7. Abasolo, Ignacio & Tsuchiya, Aki, 2004. "Exploring social welfare functions and violation of monotonicity: an example from inequalities in health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 313-329, March.
    8. Olsen, Jan Abel, 2004. "Exploring social welfare functions and violation of monotonicity: an example from inequalities in health--a comment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 331-332, March.
    9. Ignacio Abasolo & Aki Tsuchiya, 2008. "Understanding preference for egalitarian policies in health: are age and sex determinants?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(19), pages 2451-2461.
    10. Paul Dolan & Aki Tsuchiya, 2011. "Determining the parameters in a social welfare function using stated preference data: an application to health," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(18), pages 2241-2250.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Matthew Robson & Miqdad Asaria & Richard Cookson & Aki Tsuchiya & Shehzad Ali, 2017. "Eliciting the Level of Health Inequality Aversion in England," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(10), pages 1328-1334, October.
    2. Costa-Font, J.; & Cowell, F.;, 2019. "Incorporating Inequality Aversion in Health-Care Priority Setting," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 19/04, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    3. Attema, Arthur E. & Brouwer, Werner B.F. & l’Haridon, Olivier & Pinto, Jose Luis, 2015. "Estimating sign-dependent societal preferences for quality of life," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 229-243.
    4. Anita Lal & Mohammad Siahpush & Marjory Moodie & Anna Peeters & Robert Carter, 2018. "Weighting Health Outcomes by Socioeconomic Position Using Stated Preferences," PharmacoEconomics - Open, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 43-51, March.
    5. Gu, Yuanyuan & Lancsar, Emily & Ghijben, Peter & Butler, James RG & Donaldson, Cam, 2015. "Attributes and weights in health care priority setting: A systematic review of what counts and to what extent," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 41-52.
    6. Richard Cookson & Shehzad Ali & Aki Tsuchiya & Miqdad Asaria, 2018. "E‐learning and health inequality aversion: A questionnaire experiment," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(11), pages 1754-1771, November.
    7. Gibbs, Naomi & Powell, Philip A. & Tsuchiya, Aki, 2019. "Equal access for equal need: Eliciting public preferences for access to health treatment by employment status," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 222(C), pages 246-255.
    8. McNamara, Simon & Tsuchiya, Aki & Holmes, John, 2021. "Does the UK-public's aversion to inequalities in health differ by group-labelling and health-gain type? A choice-experiment," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 269(C).
    9. Simon McNamara & John Holmes & Abigail K. Stevely & Aki Tsuchiya, 2020. "How averse are the UK general public to inequalities in health between socioeconomic groups? A systematic review," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 21(2), pages 275-285, March.
    10. Thomas Kourouxous & Thomas Bauer, 2019. "Violations of dominance in decision-making," Business Research, Springer;German Academic Association for Business Research, vol. 12(1), pages 209-239, April.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Health-Related Social Welfare Functions; Monotonicity; Rawlsian; Equality-efficiency trade-off; D39; D63; I10;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D39 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Other
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General

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