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Better the devil you know: are stated preferences over health and happiness determined by how healthy and happy people are?

Adler, Matthew D., Dolan, Paul, Henwood, Amanda and Kavetsos, Georgios (2022) Better the devil you know: are stated preferences over health and happiness determined by how healthy and happy people are? Social Science and Medicine, 303. ISSN 0277-9536

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2022.115015

Abstract

Most people want to be both happy and healthy. But which matters most when there is a trade-off between them? This paper addresses this question by asking 4000 members of the UK and US public to make various choices between being happy or being physically healthy. The results suggest that these trade-offs are determined in substantial part by the respondent's own levels of happiness and health, with unhappy people more likely to choose unhappy lives and unhealthy people more likely to choose unhealthy ones: “better the devil you know, than the devil you don't”. Age also plays an important role; older people are more likely to choose being healthy over being happy. Information about adaptation to physical health conditions matters too, but less so than respondent characteristics. These results further our understanding of public preferences with important implications for policymakers concerned with satisfying those preferences.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/people/person.asp?id=10...
Additional Information: © 2022 Elsevier Ltd.
Divisions: Psychological and Behavioural Science
Centre for Economic Performance
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2022 14:54
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2022 23:15
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/115271

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