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Time to disable DALYs? On the use of DALYs in health policy


  • Lyttkens, Carl Hampus

    () (Department of Economics, Lund University)


Disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) is a concept which has rapidly gained in popularity in health policy and considerable research resources are being allocated to the area. Proponents of DALYs suggest that the measure can be used both as a “GDP of health” and to help in setting priorities in health policy. This study extends the criticism of DALYs and contends that DALYs – as the measure is currently understood – cannot be used for either of these two purposes. The DALYs procedure does not produce what it purports to do (a measure of population health), and its use in priority setting is ethically dubious.

Suggested Citation

  • Lyttkens, Carl Hampus, 2001. "Time to disable DALYs? On the use of DALYs in health policy," Working Papers 2001:11, Lund University, Department of Economics, revised 02 Sep 2001.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:lunewp:2001_011

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    More about this item


    DALYs; QALYs; priorities; ethics; population health; health care;

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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