Determining the parameters in a social welfare function using stated preference data: an application to health

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  • R. Shaw
  • P. Dolan
  • A. Tsuchiya
  • P. Smith
  • A. Williams


Publication details

DatePublished - 2002
PublisherApplied Economics
Original languageEnglish


One way in which economists might determine how best to balance the competing objectives of efficiency and equity is to specify a social welfare function (SWF). This paper looks at how the stated preferences of a sample of the general public can be used to estimate the shape of the SWF in the domain of health benefits. The results suggest that it is possible to determine the parameters in a social welfare function from stated preference data, but show that people are sensitive to what inequalities exist and to the groups across which those inequalities exist.

    Research areas

  • social welfare function, preference elicitation, equity-efficiency trade-off

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