About NIA

Old and New Measures of Human Well-being

Thursday, January 27, 2000

Three related meetings were held in 1999-2000 (Burden of Illness, Psychology and Economics, and Old and New Measures of Wellbeing) concerned with issues of interest to psychology, economics and medicine, and to various emerging hybrid disciplines such as behavioral medicine and behavioral economics.

Recommendations from Burden of Illness (BOI): Develop models for specific diseases and conditions. Test alternative approaches for assessing health states and for assessing the values assigned to different health states. How sensitive are values of the summary measure to changes in such subcomponents as mortality, incidence, or specific dimensions of functioning?

Recommendations from Psychology and Economics: Compare older and younger adults’ attitudes toward risk, delay of gratification, and reciprocal altruism. Measure lifecycle variation in consumption tastes and link this variation to normative theories of saving. Evaluate policies using the tools of behavioral economics (i.e., theories of bounded rationality, self-control, peer group effects, and learning).