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J Health Econ. 2013 Jul;32(4):708-14.

Sick but satisfied: the impact of life and health satisfaction on choice between health scenarios.

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Department of Social Policy, London School of Economics, Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE, UK.


Preference elicitation methods require respondents to predict the impact a change in health might have on their future selves. The focus on the change in health is at the possible expense of other experiences of life once in that health state. We analyse personal preferences to a pairwise choice task involving trade-offs between quality and length of life, where satisfaction levels with life or health are introduced in the description of the health states. We find that a health scenario including low levels of satisfaction increases the likelihood of preferring to die sooner in full health, whereas scenarios including high levels of satisfaction increase the likelihood of preferring to live for longer in poor health. The differences highlight the sensitivity of preferences to what is described in health states and therefore show the importance of on-going discussions about precisely what respondents should be asked to consider in preference elicitation studies.

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