The economic burden of disease by industry: Differences in quality-adjusted life years and associated costs

Tolbert, Davina V.; McCollister, Kathryn E.; LeBlanc, William G.; Lee, David J.; Fleming, Lora E.; Muennig, Peter A.


This study compares differences in quality-adjusted life expectancy across the eight original National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) industry sectors.

Data from the 1997 to 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) were used to estimate quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) for all workers and by NORA sector. Differences in QALYs were calculated and translated into economic values using estimates of the societal willingness-to-pay per QALY.

Mean QALYs across workers was 29.17 years. Among NORA sectors, wholesale, and retail trade workers had the highest average QALYs remaining (35.88), while mining workers had the lowest QALYs (31.4). The economic value of this difference ranges from $604,843 to $1,155,287 per worker depending on the societal willingness-to-pay per QALY.

The value of life lost within some industries is very high relative to others. Additional investments in occupational safety, benefits, and health promotion initiatives may reduce these losses, but experimental research is needed to assess the effectiveness of such programs.


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Also Published In

American Journal of Industrial Medicine

More About This Work

Academic Units
Health Policy and Management
Published Here
October 7, 2016