King's College London

Research portal

Challenges in developing capability measures for children and young people for use in the economic evaluation of health and care interventions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Paul Mark Mitchell, Samantha Husbands, Sarah Byford, Philip Kinghorn, Cara Bailey, Tim J. Peters, Joanna Coast

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1990-2003
Number of pages14
JournalHealth Economics
Issue number9
Early online date27 May 2021
Accepted/In press14 May 2021
E-pub ahead of print27 May 2021
PublishedSep 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: We would like to thank delegates at the International Health Economics Association (iHEA) Conference, in Basel, Switzerland in July 2019 where a previous version of this research was presented at the special interest session on ?Health Economics and the Capability Approach?. We would also like to acknowledge the contributions made by members of the ?Capability Across the Life Course? advisory group that was held in Bristol, UK, in January 2019. We would also like to acknowledge the two constructive peer reviews of this paper. Publisher Copyright: © 2021 The Authors. Health Economics published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

King's Authors


Methods for measuring outcomes suitable for economic evaluations of health and care interventions have primarily focused on adults. The validity of such methods for children and young people is questionable in areas including the outcome domains measured and how they are measured and valued, with most existing measures narrowly focusing on health. Novel methods for assessing benefits beyond health by focusing on a person's capability have also concentrated on adults to date. This paper aims to set out the rationale for capability measures in children and young people. It argues for the need to expand the evaluative space beyond health functioning towards broader capabilities, with children and young people playing an integral role in capability
measure development. Drawing from existing literature, specific challenges related to the identification, measurement, and valuation of capabilities in children and young people are also discussed. Finally, the practical implications for conducting economic evaluation when measuring and valuing capabilities at different stages across the life‐course are illustrated. We develop an alternative framework based on conceiving capabilities as evolving across the life‐course. This framework may also be helpful in thinking about how to model health outcomes across the life‐course.

View graph of relations

© 2020 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454