In publicly funded health care systems, decision makers must continually balance often conflicting priorities of efficiency and equity. Health economists have developed a set of highly sophisticated analytical methods for assessing efficiency, but less attention has been paid to formally incorporating equity considerations into analyses. As a result, where equity is considered is often informal, ad hoc and/or simplistic. This paper is a proposal for a mechanism for formally incorporating equity within the decision process. It begins with an overview of the current literature on equity weighting. It then considers the case of a single equity domain and illustrates how this is currently applied in practice by the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. It then proposes a more comprehensive method for considering the multi-attribute equity state, where a population exhibits more than one trait considered worthy of differential weighting. Finally, the paper proposes a mechanism by which this could be applied in practice, and concludes with a discussion of the challenges for applying multi-attribute equity weighting.
- Distributional weights
- Equity weights