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
  • Tim J. Peters

Colleges, School and Institutes


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. [Abstract copyright: © 2021 The Authors. Health Economics published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.]

Bibliographic note

Funding information: Wellcome grant number: 205384/Z/16/Z


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
JournalHealth Economics
Early online date25 May 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 May 2021


  • D63, I140, ICECAP measures, capability approach, economic evaluation, outcomes research

ASJC Scopus subject areas