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01-05-2010 | Uitgave 4/2010 Open Access

Quality of Life Research 4/2010

On the (not so) constant proportional trade-off in TTO

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 4/2010
Arthur E. Attema, Werner B. F. Brouwer



The linear and power QALY models require that people in Time Trade-off (TTO) exercises sacrifice the same proportion of lifetime to obtain a health improvement, irrespective of the absolute amount. However, evidence on these constant proportional trade-offs (CPTOs) is mixed, indicating that these versions of the QALY model do not represent preferences. Still, it may be the case that a more general version of the QALY model represents preferences. This version has the property that people want to sacrifice the same proportion of utilities of lifetime for a health improvement, irrespective of the amount of this lifetime.


We use a new method to correct TTO scores for utility of life duration and test whether decision makers trade off utility of duration and quality at the same rate irrespective of duration.


We find a robust violation of CPTO for both uncorrected and corrected TTO scores. Remarkably, we find higher values for longer durations, contrary to most previous studies. This represents the only study correcting for utility of life duration to find such a violation.


It seems that the trade-off of life years is indeed not so constantly proportional and, therefore, that health state valuations depend on durations.

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