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Mesuring the Health of Populations: The Veil of Ignorance Approach

  • José-Luis Pinto-Prades
  • José-María Abellán-Perpiñán

We report the results from two surveys designed to explore whether an application of Harsanyi's principle of choice form behind a veil of ignorance (VEI) can be used in order to measure the health of populations. This approach was tentatively recommended by Murray et al. [1, 2] as an appropriate way of constructing Summary Measures of Population Health (SMPH) for comparative purposes. The operationalization of the VEI approach used in this paper was suggested by Nord [3]. We test if VEI and person tradeoff (PTO) methods generate similar quality-of-life weights. In addition, we compare VEI and PTO weights with individual utilities estimated by means of the conventional standard gamble (SG) and a variation of it we call Double Gamble. Finally, psychometric properties like feasibility, reliability, and consistency are examined. Our main findings are next: (1) VEI and PTO approaches generate very different weights; (2) it seems that differences between PTO and VEI are not due to the "Rule of Rescue"; (3) the VEI resembled more a DG than a classical SG; (4) PTO, VEI, and DG exhibited good feasibility, reliability and consistency.

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Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 116.

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Date of creation: Mar 2004
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Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:116
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  1. Torrance, George W., 1986. "Measurement of health state utilities for economic appraisal : A review," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 1-30, March.
  2. Erik Nord & Paul Menzel & Jeff Richardson, 2003. "The value of life: individual preferences and social choice. A comment to Magnus Johannesson," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(10), pages 873-877.
  3. Paul Dolan & Jan Abel Olsen & Paul Menzel & Jeff Richardson, 2003. "An inquiry into the different perspectives that can be used when eliciting preferences in health," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(7), pages 545-551.
  4. John C. Hershey & Paul J. H. Schoemaker, 1985. "Probability Versus Certainty Equivalence Methods in Utility Measurement: Are they Equivalent?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 31(10), pages 1213-1231, October.
  5. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
  6. Bleichrodt, Han & Johannesson, Magnus, 1997. "Standard gamble, time trade-off and rating scale: Experimental results on the ranking properties of QALYs," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 155-175, April.
  7. McKie, John & Richardson, Jeff, 2003. "The Rule of Rescue," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(12), pages 2407-2419, June.
  8. Dolan, P. & Gudex, C. & Kind, P. & Williams, A., 1996. "Valuing health states: A comparison of methods," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 209-231, April.
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