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Life satisfaction, QALYs, and the monetary value of health

Huang, Li, Frijters, Paul, Dalziel, Kim and Clarke, Philip (2018) Life satisfaction, QALYs, and the monetary value of health. Social Science & Medicine, 211. pp. 131-136. ISSN 0277-9536

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2018.06.009


The monetary value of a quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) is frequently used to assess the benefits of health interventions and inform funding decisions. However, there is little consensus on methods for the estimation of this monetary value. In this study, we use life satisfaction as an indicator of ‘experienced utility’, and estimate the dollar equivalent value of a QALY using a fixed effect model with instrumental variable estimators. Using a nationally-representative longitudinal survey including 28,347 individuals followed during 2002–2015 in Australia, we estimate that individual's willingness to pay for one QALY is approximately A$42,000-A$67,000, and the willingness to pay for not having a long-term condition approximately A$2000 per year. As the estimates are derived using population-level data and a wellbeing measurement of life satisfaction, the approach has the advantage of being socially inclusive and recognizes the significant meaning of people's subjective valuations of health. The method could be particularly useful for nations where QALY thresholds are not yet validated or established.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2018 The Authors
Divisions: Centre for Economic Performance
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2018 09:08
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 03:09
Projects: APP1079621
Funders: National Health and Medical Research Council Senior Research Fellowship

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