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Should the capability approach be applied in Health Economics?

  • Joanna Coast

    (Department of Health Economics, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK)

  • Richard Smith

    (Health Policy Unit, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK)

  • Paula Lorgelly

    (Section of Public Health and Public Policy, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK)

This editorial questions the implications of the capability approach for health economics. Two specific issues are considered: the evaluative space of capablities (as opposed to health or utility) and the decision-making principle of maximisation. The paper argues that the capability approach can provide a richer evaluative space enabling improved evaluation of many interventions. It also argues that more thought is needed about the decision-making principles both within the capability approach and within health economics more generally. Specifically, researchers should analyse equity-oriented principles such as equalisation and a 'decent minimum' of capability, rather than presuming that the goal must be the maximisation of capability. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/hec.1359
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Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 17 (2008)
Issue (Month): 6 ()
Pages: 667-670

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Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:17:y:2008:i:6:p:667-670
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/jhome/5749

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  1. Richardson, Jeff & McKie, John, 2005. "Empiricism, ethics and orthodox economic theory: what is the appropriate basis for decision-making in the health sector?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 265-275, January.
  2. Richard Cookson, 2005. "QALYs and the capability approach," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(8), pages 817-829.
  3. Ingrid Robeyns, 2003. "Sen'S Capability Approach And Gender Inequality: Selecting Relevant Capabilities," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(2-3), pages 61-92.
  4. Culyer, A J, 1989. "The Normative Economics of Health Care Finance and Provision," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(1), pages 34-58, Spring.
  5. Martha Nussbaum, 2003. "Capabilities As Fundamental Entitlements: Sen And Social Justice," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(2-3), pages 33-59.
  6. Paul Dolan & Mathew White, 2006. "Dynamic Well-Being: Connecting Indicators of what People Anticipate with Indicators of what they Experience," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 75(2), pages 303-333, 01.
  7. Sudhir Anand and Amartya Sen, 1994. "Human development Index: Methodology and Measurement," Human Development Occasional Papers (1992-2007) HDOCPA-1994-02, Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
  8. Anand, Paul & van Hees, Martin, 2006. "Capabilities and achievements: An empirical study," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 268-284, April.
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