Distributionally Sensitive Measurement and Valuation of Population Health

Shaun Da Costa*, Owen O'Donnell, Raf van Gestel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We introduce a measure of population health that is sensitive to inequality in both age-specific health and lifespan and can be calculated from a health-extended period life table. By allowing for inequality aversion, the measure generalises health-adjusted life expectancy without requiring more data. A transformation of change in the (life-years) measure gives a distributionally sensitive monetary valuation of change in population health and disease burden. Application to Sub-Saharan Africa between 1990 and 2019 reveals that the change in population health is sensitive to allowing for lifespan inequality but is less sensitive to age-specific health inequality. Allowing for distributional sensitivity changes relative burdens of diseases, reduces convergence between the burdens of communicable and non-communicable diseases, and so could influence disease prioritisation. It increases the value of health improvements relative to GDP.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102847
JournalJournal of Health Economics
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024

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© 2023 Elsevier B.V.


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