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Assessing the Societal Value of Preventing Fetal Deaths by Using a Households Survey in the United States

Stephane A. Regnier () and Jasper Huels ()
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Stephane A. Regnier: Novartis Vaccines & Diagnostics AG, Lichtstrasse 35, CH-4056 Basel, Switzerland
Jasper Huels: Novartis Vaccines & Diagnostics AG, Lichtstrasse 35, CH-4056 Basel, Switzerland

Review of Economics & Finance, 2015, vol. 5, pages 52-66

Abstract: Many studies have found that the value of a life saved varies based on its characteristics, such as age. However, no study has investigated the value of avoiding fetal deaths, which represent a substantial disease burden worldwide. To evaluate this, 2,607 adults in the USA were surveyed online and asked to allocate a unique life-saving treatment between an unborn child, a newborn infant and a 5-year-old child. The majority (69%) of respondents preferred to allocate the treatment to a newborn infant over an unborn child in the sixth month of pregnancy, 5% chose the unborn child and 26% could not decide, preferring to leave the outcome to chance. Similarly, 54% chose a newborn infant over an unborn child in the ninth month of pregnancy, 39% could not decide and 7% chose the unborn child. Approximately 75% of respondents who chose the newborn found the decision difficult. The strengths of preferences for unborn children were between 46% and 56% of the level for newborns. Preferences varied significantly by income, religious inclination, intent to have a child, previous experience of fetal loss, occupation and gender. Based on the survey results, society puts value on avoiding fetal loss, albeit less than on preventing the death of a newborn child.

JEL-codes: I11 H51 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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