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Valuation of life extensions (completed)

Medical advances provide treatments for chronic disease processes that give life extension that is less than one year. In this project we want to investigate if people have a lower limit to what intervention they think is worth spending money on, and eventually where this limit is.

About the project

Economic evaluation usually assumes that the benefit of a life-prolonging intervention increases proportionally with life-extension as long as time preference (discounting) is considered. In their report "Vurderinger omkring nye verdsettingsstudier" (New studies of valuation of health care interventions)..... to the Norwegian Directorate of Health in 2005, Jan Abel Olsen and Ivar Sønbø Kristiansen concluded that there is no good empirical basis for this assumption.

On the contrary, the few empirical studies that exist can be taken as indicating a minimum threshold under which life-extending effects are considered to have (almost) no value. Because a number of interventions against chronic disease provide life extensions of less than one year, it is important to examine whether such a minimum threshold exists and where it might lie.


We plan to interview a representative sample of Norwegians. Respondents will be asked whether they will accept a hypothetical intervention (for example, a medication) with side-effects, and how much they would be willing to pay for this intervention. Respondents will be randomized to the size of the effect (for example 3 days, 1 week, 4 weeks, 3 months, or (missing number?) months life-extension). Respondents must weigh the offered effect against the side-effects of the intervention or a monetary expenditure.


Department of Health Management and Health Economics, University of Oslo, HERO project 2006 - 2012.


  • Institute of Public Health, Odense, Denmark
  • Department of Community Medicine, UiT


  • Partially funded by HERO


Gyrd Hansen, D., Kristiansen, I.S., 2008. Willingness-to-pay for a statistical life in the times of a pandemic. Health Econ 17:55-66.

Sønbø Kristiansen I, Halvorsen PA, Gyrd-Hansen D. Influenza pandemic: perception of risk and individual precautions in a general population. Cross sectional study. BMC Public Health. 2007; 7: 48, Published online 2007 April 2. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-7-48.

Wisløff TF, Haaheim L, Fuglesang JE, Sjursen H, Salmen R, Brantsæter AB, Løvoll Ø, Nilsen E, Kristiansen IS. Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) for pandemic influenza- cost-effective but too expensive? Med Decision Making 26: E52, 2006

Published Jan. 24, 2014 10:56 AM - Last modified Jan. 25, 2016 10:51 AM