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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Effect of Health Status on Willingness to Pay for Morbidity and Mortality Risk Reductions


Both actual and expected morbidity systematically affect individuals’ demands for both life-saving policies and preventative health care. Using a large general-population sample, we estimate a utility-theoretic model of consumer preferences across risk reduction programs targeted at a wide variety of major health threats with differing illness profiles. Individuals’ demands for programs targeting a particular illness are higher when there is a history of that illness and when subjective risks are higher. A history of other illnesses and greater other-illness subjective risks decrease demand. These comorbidity effects operate through the marginal utilities of both (i) adverse health states and (ii) income.

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