A method to elicit utilities for interpersonal comparisons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


This paper examines how values should be assigned to health states when policy decisions must be made about who should receive treatment. The paper demonstrates that, if priority were to be assigned to those people who would benefit most from treatment, standard health-state utilities might fail to identify resource allocations that would maximize total health-related well- being in society. A new measurement instrument is proposed that is based on the direct comparison of the well-being achieved by different people in various health states and thus captures such community priorities. A sample of 72 health administration students used the instrument to evaluate speech and mobility dysfunctions as they afflicted hypothetical people who differed by gender, family status, and occupational type. This preliminary analysis indicates that the instrument is feasible to use, and that the valuations of respondents did, for some health conditions, significantly depend on the type of person afflicted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-20
Number of pages11
JournalMedical Decision Making
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997


  • ethics
  • extended- sympathy instrument
  • health policy
  • interpersonal comparisons
  • utilities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

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