Outcomes in economic evaluations of public health interventions in low- and middle-income countries: Health, capabilities and subjective wellbeing

Giulia Greco, Paula Lorgelly, Inthira Yamabhai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Public health programmes tend to be complex and may combine social strategies with aspects of empowerment, capacity building and knowledge across sectors. The nature of the programmes means that some effects are likely to occur outside the healthcare sector; this breadth impacts on the choice of health and non-health outcomes to measure and value in an economic evaluation. Employing conventional outcome measures in evaluations of public health has been questioned. There are concerns that such measures are too narrow, overlook important dimensions of programme effect and, thus, lead to such interventions being undervalued. This issue is of particular importance for low-income and middle-income countries, which face considerable budget constraints, yet deliver a large proportion of health activities within public health programmes. The need to develop outcome measures, which include broader measures of quality of life, has given impetus to the development of a variety of new, holistic approaches, including Sen's capability framework and measures of subjective wellbeing. Despite their promise, these approaches have not yet been widely applied, perhaps because they present significant methodological challenges. This paper outlines the methodological challenges for the identification and measurement of broader outcomes of public health interventions in economic evaluation in low-income and middle-income countries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-94
Number of pages12
JournalHealth Economics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016


  • Capabilities
  • Subjective wellbeing
  • Happiness
  • Life satisfaction
  • Economic evaluation
  • Public health

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