Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Papers,
Copenhagen Business School, Department of Economics

No 8-2022: QALYs, DALYs, and HALYs: A Unifying Framework for the Evaluation of Population Health

Juan D. Moreno-Ternero (), Trine Tornøe Platz () and Lars Peter Østerdal ()
Additional contact information
Juan D. Moreno-Ternero: Department of Economics, Universidad Pablo de Olavide
Lars Peter Østerdal: Department of Economics, Copenhagen Business School, Postal: Copenhagen Business School, Department of Economics, Porcelaenshaven 16 A. 1. floor, DK-2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark

Abstract: We provide a unifying framework for the evaluation of population health. We formalize several axioms for social preferences over distributions of health. We show that a specific combination of those axioms characterizes a large class of population health evaluation functions combining concerns for quality of life, quantity of life and health shortfalls. We refer to the class as (unweighted) aggregations of health-adjusted life years (HALYs). Two focal (and somewhat polar) members of this family are the (unweighted) aggregations of quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), and of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs). We also provide new characterization results for these focal members that enable us to scrutinize their normative foundations and shed new light on their similarities and differences.

Keywords: Population health; QALYs; DALYs; HYEs; Axioms

JEL-codes: D63; I10

Language: English

26 pages, May 20, 2022

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