Eliciting Fuzzy Preferences Towards Health States with Discrete Choice Experiments

  • Michał JakubczykEmail author
  • Bogumił Kamiński
  • Michał Lewandowski
Part of the Studies in Systems, Decision and Control book series (SSDC, volume 125)


Most people consider health (quality and duration of life) as important but since we rarely choose between health states, our preferences are often not well-formed; moreover, the quality of life is frequently defined using imprecise terms (e.g. moderate difficulties doing usual activities). Therefore, we propose to model preferences towards health states (precisely: disutilities of worsening health dimensions in the EQ-5D-5L descriptive system) as fuzzy: each worsening is assigned an interval instead of a crisp number. We elicit such preferences with discrete choice experiment (DCE) data, using a maximum likelihood approach and bootstrapping to assess the estimation error. For example, the disutility of moderate difficulties doing usual activities was estimated as lying in the interval (0.018; 0.206). Pain/discomfort and anxiety/depression are associated with greatest upper bounds of disutilities and largest fuzziness (longest ranges). Our approach dispenses with one of the non-intuitive features of the standard approach to DCE, where even a clearly dominated alternative has a positive probability of being chosen; in our model, if the disutility ranges do not overlap, the worse alternative will never be chosen. Also, our model is more consistent regarding the constant proportional trade-off condition: the probability of a given health state being chosen in a pair will not change if durations are scaled proportionally; something that is not true in the standard DCE model.


Fuzzy modelling Discrete choice experiment Health-related quality of life Utility Preference elicitation Multiple-criteria decision making 



The research was financed by the funds obtained from National Science Centre, Poland, granted following the decision number DEC-2015/19/B/HS4/01729.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michał Jakubczyk
    • 1
    Email author
  • Bogumił Kamiński
    • 1
  • Michał Lewandowski
    • 1
  1. 1.Decision Analysis and Support UnitSGH Warsaw School of EconomicsWarsawPoland

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