Human Welfare Metrics
A quick summary of Human Welfare Metrics
Using the right metrics is important to estimate the cost-effectiveness of different interventions. The most commonly used measure for the cost-effectiveness of near-term human welfare is the Quality-Adjusted Life Year (QALY).
However, the use of QALYs has recently been criticised (source) because it relies on a methodology that systematically overestimates the impact of certain disabilities (e.g. loss of mobility). As a consequence, disabilities that score high on multiple measures (e.g. extreme pain, mental disabilities) might be underprioritized.
Criteria for selecting a measure
In selecting the right measure, at least the following criteria are important:
- Validity: does it measure what we want it to measure?
- Availability: is there enough data available to compare the impact of different interventions?
Types of measures
- Quality-Adjusted Life-Years (QALY's) & Disability-Adjusted LIfe-Years (DALY's)
- Subjective Wellbeing (SWB) measures
- Life Satisfaction measures.
- Clark, A. E., Flèche, S., Layard, R., Powdthavee, N., & Ward, G. (2018). The origins of happiness: the science of well-being over the life course. Princeton University Press.