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E‐learning and health inequality aversion: a questionnaire experiment


  • Cookson, Richard
  • Ali, Shehzad
  • Tsuchiya, Aki
  • Asaria, Miqdad


In principle, questionnaire data on public views about hypothetical trade‐offs between improving total health and reducing health inequality can provide useful normative health inequality aversion parameter benchmarks for policymakers faced with real trade‐offs of this kind. However, trade‐off questions can be hard to understand, and one standard type of question finds that a high proportion of respondents—sometimes a majority—appear to give exclusive priority to reducing health inequality. We developed and tested two e‐learning interventions designed to help respondents understand this question more completely. The interventions were a video animation, exposing respondents to rival points of view, and a spreadsheet‐based questionnaire that provided feedback on implied trade‐offs. We found large effects of both interventions in reducing the proportion of respondents giving exclusive priority to reducing health inequality, though the median responses still implied a high degree of health inequality aversion and—unlike the video—the spreadsheet‐based intervention introduced a substantial new minority of non‐egalitarian responses. E‐learning may introduce as well as avoid biases but merits further research and may be useful in other questionnaire studies involving trade‐offs between conflicting values.

Suggested Citation

  • Cookson, Richard & Ali, Shehzad & Tsuchiya, Aki & Asaria, Miqdad, 2018. "E‐learning and health inequality aversion: a questionnaire experiment," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 89393, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:89393

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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Simon McNamara’s journal round-up for 6th August 2018
      by sjmcnamara1 in The Academic Health Economists' Blog on 2018-08-06 11:00:29

    More about this item


    distributional cost‐effectiveness analysis; empirical ethics; empirical social choice; health inequality; inequality aversion;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics


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