General English


  • noun a thing which someone prefers
  • noun a thing which has an advantage over something else

Health Economics

  • (written as Preference)

    Choices are usually assumed in economics to be the result of an interaction between preferences and constraints, where preferences are embodied in a utility function. 'Preferred' often means 'chosen rather than' (the revealed preference approach) but sometimes can mean a verbal statement of preference (the stated preference approach). Most economists take preferences as primitive concepts, about which one need not enquire much (for example, as to their origin, causes or merit). Difficulties start to arise when people have preferences about (other people's) preferences or when they have preferences that everyone agrees are appalling (for example, a preference - taste? - for cannibalism). Preferences are usually also taken as constant over time. This poses particular difficulties when studying processes (like much education and some health care) whose aim (or consequence, regardless of aim) is to change people's preferences. Whether preferences alone are a satisfactory basis for making judgments about social welfare is a matter that divides welfarists and extra-welfarists in health economics.

    In discrete choice experiments, especially those using random utility theory, there has been much discussion of ways of separating the scale of the estimated parameters and the magnitude of the random component.


  • noun a thing which someone prefers
    a thing which has an advantage over something else



  • noun something which is liked or wanted more than other things