Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics
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Department of Economics, Lund University Working Papers, Department of Economics, Lund University

No 2001:11:
Time to disable DALYs? On the use of DALYs in health policy.

Carl Hampus Lyttkens ()

Abstract: Disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) is a concept which has rapidly gained in popularity in health policy and considerable research resources are being allocated to the area. Proponents of DALYs suggest that the measure can be used both as a “GDP of health” and to help in setting priorities in health policy. This study extends the criticism of DALYs and contends that DALYs – as the measure is currently understood – cannot be used for either of these two purposes. The DALYs procedure does not produce what it purports to do (a measure of population health), and its use in priority setting is ethically dubious.

Keywords: DALYs; QALYs; priorities; ethics; population health; health care; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: I18; (follow links to similar papers)

24 pages, July 25, 2001, Revised September 2, 2001

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This paper is published as:
Lyttkens, Carl Hampus, (2003), 'Time to disable DALYs? On the use of DALYs in health policy.', The European Journal of Health Economics, Vol. 4, No. 3, pages 195-202

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