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Economic valuation of informal care: Lessons from the application of the opportunity costs and proxy good methods

  • van den Berg, Bernard
  • Brouwer, Werner
  • van Exel, Job
  • Koopmanschap, Marc
  • van den Bos, Geertrudis A.M.
  • Rutten, Frans

This paper reports the results of the application of the opportunity costs and proxy good methods to determine a monetary value of informal care. We developed a survey in which we asked informal caregivers in The Netherlands to indicate the different types of time forgone (paid work, unpaid work and leisure) in order to be able to provide care. Moreover, we asked informal caregivers how much time they spent on a list of 16 informal care tasks during the week before the interview. Data were obtained from surveys in two different populations: informal caregivers and their care recipients with stroke and with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). A total of 218 care recipients with stroke and their primary informal caregivers completed a survey as well as 147 caregivers and their care recipients with RA. The measurement of care according to both methods is more problematic compared to the valuation. This is especially the case for the opportunity costs method and for the housework part in the proxy good method. More precise guidelines are necessary for the consistent application of both methods in order to ensure comparability of results and of economic evaluations of health care.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

Volume (Year): 62 (2006)
Issue (Month): 4 (February)
Pages: 835-845

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Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:62:y:2006:i:4:p:835-845
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  1. Bernard van den Berg & Han Bleichrodt & Louis Eeckhoudt, 2005. "The economic value of informal care: a study of informal caregivers' and patients' willingness to pay and willingness to accept for informal care," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(4), pages 363-376.
  2. Blackwell, John & O'Shea, Eamon & Moane, Geraldine & Murray, Peter, 1992. "Care Provision and Cost Measurement: Dependent Elderly People at Home and in Geriatric Hospitals," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number GRS157.
  3. Juster, F. Thomas & Stafford, Frank P., 1990. "The Allocation of Time: Empirical Findings, Behavioural Models, and Problems of Measurement," Working Paper Series 258, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  4. Wimo, Anders & von Strauss, Eva & Nordberg, Gunilla & Sassi, Franco & Johansson, Lennarth, 2002. "Time spent on informal and formal care giving for persons with dementia in Sweden," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 255-268, September.
  5. Bernard van denBerg & Werner Brouwer & Job van Exel & Marc Koopmanschap, 2005. "Economic valuation of informal care: the contingent valuation method applied to informal caregiving," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(2), pages 169-183.
  6. Norton, Edward C., 2000. "Long-term care," Handbook of Health Economics, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 17, pages 955-994 Elsevier.
  7. van den Berg, Bernard & Al, Maiwenn & Brouwer, Werner & van Exel, Job & Koopmanschap, Marc, 2005. "Economic valuation of informal care: The conjoint measurement method applied to informal caregiving," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 61(6), pages 1342-1355, September.
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