I’ve been pretty lucky to have been involved in some awesome projects, and got to produce some publicly-available publications.

  • Valuing agricultural input and food system related costs to health, UN Food and Agricultural Organisation
    • The FAO were interested in a “full-cost accounting approach” to valuing agricultural inputs e.g. pesticides, fertilisers and food low in micro-nutrients.  In other words, taking into account the long-term, non-market impacts which are often ignored when agricultural decisions are made.
    • The brief was to develop a case study for valuing the impact on health through wellbeing valuation, a methodology which derives the impact of an outcome, in this case a health condition, on wellbeing through statistical analysis.  The key benefit of deriving the impact is that you get at people’s lived experiences instead of how bad they imagine the health condition to be (which is the case in the QALY, the most commonly used alternative method).
    • I wrote up some of the theoretical approach and examples to demonstrate the methodology.
  • Value-for-Money analysis, NCS:
    • NCS is a 3-4 week experience for 15-17 year olds to develop employability skills, take part in social action and stay away from home. More than 275k young people have participated since its inception.
    • To assess whether the 2015 programme was value for money, I assessed the short-term impact of the programme on the participants’ wellbeing through a difference-in-difference estimation.  Those who participated in the programme experienced a greater positive change in wellbeing compared to a control group.  I then valued the observed improvement in wellbeing through the wellbeing valuation methodology.
    • To assess the long-term impact of the programme, I used administrative data (UCAS Strobe and Exact) to assess the impact of the programme on entry to higher education. On average, the programme increased entry to higher education, and this was particularly pronounced for those from areas where young people are less likely to enter higher education.  I then valued the associated higher earnings.
    • I then compared these short-term and long-term benefits to the individual and to society to the cost of the programme.
    • The research was replicated for the 2016 programme and even makes an appearance on NCS’s Wikipedia page!
  • Valuing the impact of mental health interventions, HACT:
    • WEMWEBS is a scale used to measure changes in mental health, and it is used in the housing sector (and elsewhere) to assess the impact of mental health interventions.
    • The client was interested in being able to value the benefits of improved mental health so that interventions could be assessed in a cost-benefit framework.
    • I modeled the relationship between the WEMWEBS scale and life satisfaction to derive a value for a change from one score on the scale to another. I tried a range of parametric (linear, log, quadratic, cubic, sigmoid) and non-parametric models, and settled on a 12-category model guided by goodness of fit tests and theoretical reasoning.
    • As the model is not linear, moving from a 7 to an 8 doesn’t have the same value as moving from a 27 to a 28.  So I provided a table of values which allowed the client to calculate the value of a change from any value to another for each individual.
  • Australian Social Value Bank:
    • The ASVB is a “bank” of values estimating the benefit of various good outcomes to the individual. The benefit to the individual, whether it be improvement to their health, an educational qualification or regular contact with friends are evaluated with reference to the impact on wellbeing, and then valued using the wellbeing valuation methodology.
    • Using the same methodology to estimate the benefits of outcomes across a range of types of outcome (health, education etc) allows decision-makers to compare programmes on a like-for-like basis.
    • Of course, society also benefits when things are going well for people (people who are healthier cost the NHS less), and I contributed to the bank of “secondary benefit” values which show the increased tax revenue and reduced government spending of positive outcomes.
    • I was also in charge of developing videos to accompany the tool. Tune in to hear my dulcet tones!


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