This document is a theoretical guide to the latest developments in happiness research as applied to the valuation of health. It shows how happiness data can overcome some of the well-known problems with existing “preference-based” ways of valuing health. It presents valuation data showing how the dimensions of health that matter most in happiness-based statistical studies are not the same as those that matter most when people are asked about their preferences.
Professor Paul Dolan reviews the latest developments in happiness research into the valuation of health and discusses how happiness data can overcome some of the well-known problems with traditional preference-based ways of valuing health.
Mental health matters more in happiness reports, implying that use of happiness to value health would give greater priority to mental health (and “subjective” issues such as well-being) relative to the usual benchmarks such as physical functioning and possibly even pain.
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Dolan, P. (2011). Using happiness to value health. London: Office of Health Economics (OHE), November 2011.