Is the person trade-off a valid method for allocating health care resources? Some caveats
The Person Trade-Off (PTO) is a methodology aimed at measuring the social value of health states. The rest of methodologies would measure individual utility and would be less appropriate for taking resource allocation decisions. However few studies have been conducted to test the validity of the method. We present a pilot study with this objective. The study is based on the result of interviews to 30 undergraduate students in Economics. We judge the validity of PTO answers by their adequacy to three hypothesis of rationality. First, we show that, given certain rationality assumptions, PTO answers should be predicted from answers to Standard Gamble questions. This first hypothesis is not verified. The second hypothesis is that PTO answers should not vary with different frames of equivalent PTO questions. This second hypothesis is also not verified. Our third hypothesis is that PTO values should predict social preferences for allocating resources between patients. This hypothesis is verified. The evidence on the validity of the method is then conflicting.
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