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The value of extending life at its end: Health care allocation in the presence of learning spillovers


  • Hintermann, Beat

    () (University of Basel)

  • Minke, Matthias

    () (University of Basel)


We investigate the social value of medical interventions at the end of life that tend to have a high cost-benefit ratio. We model the optimal allocation of health resources across a continuum of diseases that dier by severity and treatment options, and extend it to allow for learning spillovers between treatments. We calibrate our model to admissions to intensive care units in Switzerland. Cancer treatments associated with learning spillovers that decrease the mortality for non-cancer patients by 1 percentage point justify a costbenefit ratio per additional life-year of 1.78.

Suggested Citation

  • Hintermann, Beat & Minke, Matthias, 2018. "The value of extending life at its end: Health care allocation in the presence of learning spillovers," Working papers 2018/15, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
  • Handle: RePEc:bsl:wpaper:2018/15

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Eric French & Jeremy Mccauley & Maria Aragon & Pieter Bakx & Martin Chalkley & Stacey H. Chen & Bent J. Christensen & Hongwei Chuang & Aurelie Côté-Sergent & Mariacristina de Nardi & Elliott Fan & Dam, 2017. "End-Of-Life Medical Spending In Last Twelve Months Of Life Is Lower Than Previously Reported," Post-Print halshs-01631529, HAL.
    2. Lakdawalla, Darius N. & Sun, Eric C. & Jena, Anupam B. & Reyes, Carolina M. & Goldman, Dana P. & Philipson, Tomas J., 2010. "An economic evaluation of the war on cancer," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 333-346, May.
    3. Meltzer, David, 1997. "Accounting for future costs in medical cost-effectiveness analysis," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 33-64, February.
    4. David Meltzer, 1997. "Accounting for Future Costs in Medical Cost-Effectiveness Analysis," NBER Working Papers 5946, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Kuhn, Michael & Wrzaczek, Stefan & Prskawetz, Alexia & Feichtinger, Gustav, 2011. "Externalities in a life cycle model with endogenous survival," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(4-5), pages 627-641.
    6. Peter Zweifel & Stefan Felder & Markus Meiers, 1999. "Ageing of population and health care expenditure: a red herring?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(6), pages 485-496, September.
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    More about this item


    End of life; allocation of health resources; learning spillovers;

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General

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