I recently prepared a book chapter on the role of discounting for uncertainty in a health context. I thought some people on the forum might be interested.


Discounting has an important role to play when choosing between different health interventions whose costs and benefits are spread over time. There are several reasons we discount, such as time preference and uncertainty, and these behave differently in different contexts.

In this chapter I explore discounting for uncertainty in a health context. I argue that it is important to include a discount rate for uncertainty about future medical progress, but that it should be relatively low. I show how such a discount rate differs in practice from discounting for time preference. I explain how the inclusion of such a discount rate allows better counterfactual estimates of the health effects of a research or eradication programme.

You can read the full article here.

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