Journal of Social and Economic Development

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 240–255 | Cite as

Giving arguments to operationalize health capabilities in economic evaluations of health interventions

  • Marco Ricardo Téllez CabreraEmail author
Research Paper


This article argues that health capabilities should be used to generate a measure of health-related quality of life so that health policy avoids expanding to encompass problems related to total well-being. To this end, health should be defined holistically, considering it as internal capabilities related to the physical, mental, and social domains. While different sets of health capabilities can be considered depending on their purpose, a synthesized set composed of health, health agency, material conditions and community dimensions incorporating this holistic definition of health together with external conditions is proposed. Valuation of this set for its use in large-scale projects should be done using worked or corrected preferences, elicited through public discussion and hybrid methods. Finally, a weighted sum ranking, social health-related capability functional together with a sufficientarian perspective, is proposed as a feasible method by which to aggregate individual health capabilities while taking into account concerns about efficiency and equity.


Health capabilities Holistic health Health economic evaluation Operationalization Capability approach 


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Copyright information

© Institute for Social and Economic Change 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sección de Estudios de Posgrado e Investigación-Escuela Superior de EconomíaInstituto Politécnico Nacional (SEPI-ESE-IPN)Mexico CityMexico

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