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IHR Seminar: Subjective wellbeing in economics and health policy

Speaker: Professor Bernard van den Berg, Professor of Health Economics, University of Groningen

Event details


Conceptualizing and measuring subjective wellbeing has become part of mainstream economics over the last decade or so. Policy makers worldwide seem to encourage the refinement of measures of subjective wellbeing to measure national progress.

The UK Cabinet Office asked the Office for National Statistics in 2010 to measure wellbeing or quality of life. This posed challenges for health policy which heavily relies on the measurement of health-related quality of life. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance on public health for instance, mentions the possibility that wellbeing could complement existing measures of health-related quality of life. The NICE guidance on social care seems to suggest the possibility of going beyond health and to use wellbeing as the main outcome measure for cost-effectiveness analyses in a social care setting.

This presentation provides an introduction to the economic and health economic literature on subjective wellbeing. It uses case studies to illustrate the main empirical findings of the health economic literature. I also aim to explore and discuss how subjective wellbeing could potentially improve health policy.