Do people value their own future health differently from others' future health?

J Cairns, M Pol van der

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this study was to investigate whether time preferences for own health are the same as time preferences for others' health. A random sample of the general public was sent a postal questionnaire containing six choices between ill health in the near future and ill health in the further future. They were asked to indicate the maximum duration of more distant ill health they would be willing to accept in return for a specified delay in the onset of the period of ill health. For half of the sample the questions were set in the context of their own health and for the other half in terms of others' health. The median implied discount rates were not statistically different, 0.061 for own health and 0.062 for others' health. A multilevel analysis of the determinants of these implied discount rates provided additional evidence of the similarity of time preferences for own health and others' health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)466-472
Number of pages7
JournalMedical Decision Making
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1999


  • intertemporal preferences
  • own versus other's health
  • time preference
  • lives
  • valuations
  • duration
  • money


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