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Cardinal Scales for Public Health Evaluation


  • Charles M. Harvey

    (University of Houston)

  • Lars Peter Østerdal

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)


Policy studies often evaluate health for a population by summing the individuals’ health as measured by a scale that is ordinal or that depends on risk attitudes. We develop a method using a different type of preferences, called preference intensity or cardinal preferences, to construct scales that measure changes in health. The method is based on a social welfare model that relates preferences between changes in an individual’s health to preferences between changes in health for a population.

Suggested Citation

  • Charles M. Harvey & Lars Peter Østerdal, 2007. "Cardinal Scales for Public Health Evaluation," Discussion Papers 07-01, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:0701

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Osterdal, Lars Peter, 2005. "Axioms for health care resource allocation," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 679-702, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Musal, R. Muzaffer & Soyer, Refik & McCabe, Christopher & Kharroubi, Samer A., 2012. "Estimating the population utility function: A parametric Bayesian approach," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 218(2), pages 538-547.
    2. Marcus Pivato, 2015. "Social choice with approximate interpersonal comparison of welfare gains," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 79(2), pages 181-216, September.

    More about this item


    public health evaluation; social welfare; preference intensity; health state;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • H43 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Project Evaluation; Social Discount Rate
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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