An economic analysis of housing’s linkages to health can assist policy makers and researchers to make better decisions about which housing interventions and policies are the most cost-beneficial. The challenge is to include cobenefits. The adoption in 2015 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals underscores the importance of understanding how policies interact, and the merit of comprehensively evaluating cobenefits. We explain our approach to the empirical assessment of such cobenefits in the housing and health context, and consider lessons from empirical economic appraisals of the impact of housing on health outcomes. Critical assumptions relating to cobenefits are explicitly examined. A key finding is that when wider policy outcome measures are included, such as mental health impacts and carbon emission reductions, it is important that effects of assumptions on outcomes are considered. Another is that differing values underlie appraisal, for example, the weight given to future generations through the discount rate. Cost-benefit analyses (CBAs) can better facilitate meaningful debate when they are based on explicit assumptions about values. In short, the insights drawn from an economic framework for housing-and-health studies are valuable, but nonetheless contingent. Given that housing interventions typically have both health and other cobenefits, and incorporate social value judgements, it is important to take a broad view but be explicit about how such interventions are assessed.
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