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Scaling methods for categorical self-assessed health measures


  • Patricia Cubí Mollá

    (Universidad de Alicante)


The lack of a continuous health valuation is a major drawback in health analyses over broad populations. The use of categorical health variables to estimate a continuous health variable is an usual procedure in healthstudies. The most common approaches (ordered probit/logit model and interval regression model) do not admit any skewness in the distribution of health. In the present study a new procedure is suggested, that is attaching a log-normal distribution to health values. Different scaling procedures have been compared, with data obtained from the Catalan Health Survey (2006). The validity of the scaling approaches is assessed by measuring to what extent the health values derived from categorical health variables suit the actual health values. Two different health tariffs have been used for each procedure (VAS tariff and TTO tariff), so that the results are robust to the selection of a metric. In general, models under log normality outperform the other approaches.

Suggested Citation

  • Patricia Cubí Mollá, 2010. "Scaling methods for categorical self-assessed health measures," Working Papers. Serie AD 2010-01, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  • Handle: RePEc:ivi:wpasad:2010-01

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jorgen Lauridsen & Terkel Christiansen & Unto Häkkinen, 2004. "Measuring inequality in self-reported health-discussion of a recently suggested approach using Finnish data," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(7), pages 725-732.
    2. Maliar, Lilia & Maliar, Serguei & Valli, Fernando, 2010. "Solving the incomplete markets model with aggregate uncertainty using the Krusell-Smith algorithm," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 42-49, January.
    3. Menner, Martin, 2007. "The role of search frictions for output and inflation dynamics: a Bayesian assessment," UC3M Working papers. Economics we076235, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
    4. Groot, Wim, 2000. "Adaptation and scale of reference bias in self-assessments of quality of life," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 403-420, May.
    5. Busschbach, Jan J. V. & McDonnell, Joseph & Essink-Bot, Marie-Louise & van Hout, Ben A., 1999. "Estimating parametric relationships between health description and health valuation with an application to the EuroQol EQ-5D," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(5), pages 551-570, October.
    6. Doorslaer, Eddy van & Jones, Andrew M., 2003. "Inequalities in self-reported health: validation of a new approach to measurement," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 61-87, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jorge Gonzalez Chapela, 2011. "Recreation, home production, and intertemporal substitution of female labor supply: evidence on the intensive margin," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 14(3), pages 532-548, July.

    More about this item


    Health-Related Quality of Life; Health Measurement; Interval;

    JEL classification:

    • C01 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - General - - - Econometrics
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General

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