Cardinal Scales for Health Evaluation

Charles M. Harvey, Lars Peter Østerdal

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Policy studies often evaluate health for an individual or for a population by using measurement scales that are ordinal scales or expected-utility scales. This paper develops scales of a different type, commonly called cardinal scales, that measure changes in health. Also, we argue that cardinal scales provide a meaningful and useful means of evaluating health policies. Thus, we develop a means of using the perspective of early neoclassical welfare economics as an alternative to ordinalist and expected-utility perspectives.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDecision Analysis
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)256-281
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardinal utility
  • Health scales
  • Neoclassical welfare economics
  • Population health
  • Preference intensity
  • Social welfare

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