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Eliciting Preferences for Resource Allocation in Health Care


  • Eamon O’Shea

    (NUI, Galway, Ireland)

  • Jennifer Stewart

    (McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada)

  • Cam Donaldson

    (University of Calgary, Canada)

  • Phil Shackley

    (University of Sheffield, U.K.)


Willingness-to-pay (WTP) studies are increasingly being used in the evaluation of health care programmes and, although less frequently, for priority setting in health care. The usefulness of willingness-to-pay as a discriminatory tool for priority setting is considered in this paper for three different health care programmes in Ireland: cancer, cardiovascular and community care. While the resulting estimates are consistent with respondents’ rankings of the programmes, there is no statistical difference among the three programmes in terms of WTP. In considering marginal changes to existing health care programmes people consider their rankings of the programmes and the existing capacity of each programme. People are also more concerned with the gains to themselves of expanding various health care programmes than with wider issues of access or fairness.

Suggested Citation

  • Eamon O’Shea & Jennifer Stewart & Cam Donaldson & Phil Shackley, 2001. "Eliciting Preferences for Resource Allocation in Health Care," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 32(3), pages 217-238.
  • Handle: RePEc:eso:journl:v:32:y:2001:i:3:p:217-238

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stewart, Jennifer M. & O'Shea, Eamon & Donaldson, Cam & Shackley, Phil, 2002. "Do ordering effects matter in willingness-to-pay studies of health care?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 585-599, July.
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    4. Nolan, Brian, 1991. "The Utilisation and Financing of Health Services in Ireland," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number GRS155.
    5. Cam Donaldson & Andrew Jones & Tracy Mapp & Jan Abel Olson, 1998. "Limited dependent variables in willingness to pay studies: applications in health care," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(5), pages 667-677.
    6. Ryan, Mandy, 1998. "Valuing psychological factors in the provision of assisted reproductive techniques using the economic instrument of willingness to pay," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 179-204, April.
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    10. Mossialos, Elias & King, Derek, 1999. "Citizens and rationing: analysis of a European survey," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(1-2), pages 75-135, September.
    11. Peter A. Diamond & Jerry A. Hausman, 1994. "Contingent Valuation: Is Some Number Better than No Number?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 45-64, Fall.
    12. W. Michael Hanemann, 1994. "Valuing the Environment through Contingent Valuation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 19-43, Fall.
    13. Alan Diener & Bernie O'Brien & Amiram Gafni, 1998. "Health care contingent valuation studies: a review and classification of the literature," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 7(4), pages 313-326.
    14. Blumenschein, Karen & Johannesson, Magnus & Yokoyama, Krista K. & Freeman, Patricia R., 2001. "Hypothetical versus real willingness to pay in the health care sector: results from a field experiment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 441-457, May.
    15. Olsen, Jan Abel & Donaldson, Cam, 1998. "Helicopters, hearts and hips: Using willingness to pay to set priorities for public sector health care programmes," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 1-12, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Callan, Aoife & O'Shea, Eamon, 2015. "Willingness to pay for telecare programmes to support independent living: Results from a contingent valuation study," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 94-102.
    2. Brouwer, Roy & Bateman, Ian J., 2005. "Benefits transfer of willingness to pay estimates and functions for health-risk reductions: a cross-country study," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 591-611, May.
    3. Leguizamon, Susane & Christafore, David, 2014. "Racial Differences in Willingness to Pay for Hospital Access," MPRA Paper 55926, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. O'Shea, Eamon & Gannon, Brenda & Kennelly, Brendan, 2008. "Eliciting preferences for resource allocation in mental health care in Ireland," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 88(2-3), pages 359-370, December.

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