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Quality adjusted life years as expected utilities


  • José Ma. Abellán Perpiñán

    () (Department of Applied Economics, University of Murcia, Campus of Espinosa, E-30100 Murcia, Spain Department of Economics and Center for Health Economics, Pompeu Fabra University, Ramón Trias Fargas 25-27, E-Barcelona, Spain)

  • José Luis PintoPrades

    () (Department of Applied Economics, University of Murcia, Campus of Espinosa, E-30100 Murcia, Spain Department of Economics and Center for Health Economics, Pompeu Fabra University, Ramón Trias Fargas 25-27, E-Barcelona, Spain)


This article is intended to systematicaly show all the conditions that the Quality Adjusted Life Year (QALY) must satisfy so that it can be interpreted as a von Newman-Morgenstern utility. Such conditions cover two cases. When health states are chronic, we shall be referring to the conditions inferred by Pliskin, Shepard and Weinstein (1980). Likewise, we will devote our attention to commenting on the characterization of Bleichrodt (1996), pointing out that its condition 0 is a bit artificial. In turn, for temporary health states, we will remark that the characterization of Bleichrodt (1995) appears to be incomplete. We shall provide a complete derivation of QALYs. In this way, QALYs can be derived from an individual's preference relation that satisfies the von Newman-Morgenstern axioms by imposing additive independence, absence of contradictory trade-offs and partial symmetry. Moreover, the two last conditions conditions can be replaced by a single condition that we call general symmetry.

Suggested Citation

  • José Ma. Abellán Perpiñán & José Luis PintoPrades, 2000. "Quality adjusted life years as expected utilities," Spanish Economic Review, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 49-63.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:specre:v:2:y:2000:i:1:p:49-63

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    Cited by:

    1. Guillem López-Casasnovas & Berta Rivera, 2002. "Las políticas de equidad en salud y las relaciones entre renta y salud," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 161(2), pages 99-126, June.
    2. Jorge Eduardo Martínez Pérez & José María Abellán Perpiñán & José Luis Pinto Prades, 2007. "El Valor Monetario de la Vida Estadística en España a través de las Preferencias Declaradas," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 183(4), pages 125-144, december.
    3. José-María Abellán-Perpiñán & José-Luis Pinto-Prades & Ildefonso Méndez-Martínez & Xabier Badía-Llach, 2006. "Towards a better QALY model," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(7), pages 665-676.

    More about this item


    Preferences for health; quality-adjusted life years; utility theory;

    JEL classification:

    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
    • D99 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Other
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health


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