Should the capability approach be applied in health economics?

Health Econ. 2008 Jun;17(6):667-70. doi: 10.1002/hec.1359.


This editorial questions the implications of the capability approach for health economics. Two specific issues are considered: the evaluative space of capablities (as opposed to health or utility) and the decision-making principle of maximisation. The paper argues that the capability approach can provide a richer evaluative space enabling improved evaluation of many interventions. It also argues that more thought is needed about the decision-making principles both within the capability approach and within health economics more generally. Specifically, researchers should analyse equity-oriented principles such as equalisation and a 'decent minimum' of capability, rather than presuming that the goal must be the maximisation of capability.

Publication types

  • Editorial

MeSH terms

  • Decision Making
  • Economics, Medical*
  • Healthcare Disparities / economics
  • Humans
  • Models, Econometric*