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A Question of Morality? Preferences for Liberties, Lives and Livelihoods During a Pandemic
May 4, 2023 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm EDT
Pandemics represent a disease category that not only challenges our mortality but also forces us to consider our moral relations with others in society. This was clear during the covid-19 pandemic, with public opinion often polarised on whether, and to what extent, government policy should mandate restrictions on individual liberties to save lives, and the extent to which economic costs should be considered. Little is known about public preferences and trade-offs for such factors during a pandemic. Such information is crucial if public messaging is to achieve maximum compliance. Using a discrete choice experiment, this study estimates trade-offs between lives, liberties, and livelihoods in a future pandemic, and assesses their relationship to moral attitudes. Findings suggest moral attitudes partly explain polarised views around restrictive lockdowns. Implications for devising effective public health messaging to increase lockdown compliance during a future pandemic are discussed.
Professor Mandy Ryan is the Director of the Health Economics Research Unit. She joined HERU in 1987 after graduating from the University of Leicester with a BA (Hons) in Economics and the University of York with an MSc in Health Economics. In 1995, she graduated from the University of Aberdeen with a PhD in Economics concerned with the application of contingent valuation and discrete choice experiments (DCEs) in health economics. In 1997, Mandy was awarded a five-year Medical Research Council Non-Clinical Senior Fellowship to develop and apply DCEs in healthcare. In 2002, she was awarded a Personal Chair in Health Economics by the University of Aberdeen and in 2006 she was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. She took up the Directorship of HERU in April 2013. Mandy’s research interests focus on taking a person-centred approach to valuation in health economics. She is known for her work challenging the clinical approach to valuation that is often adopted by health economists and for developing alternative person-centred approaches. She introduced DCEs into health economics in the early 1990s and her research has applied DCEs in a wide range of contexts to take account of the user preferences in the delivery of healthcare.