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Scope Issue in Contingent Valuation Studies of the COVID-19 Vaccine: The Case of China


  • Jianhong Xiao

    (Qingdao University)

  • Yihui Wu

    (Qingdao University)

  • Min Wang

    (Qingdao University)

  • Zegang Ma

    (Qingdao University)


Background Assessing the public’s willingness to pay (WTP) for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine by the contingent valuation (CV) method can provide a relevant basis for government pricing. However, the scope issue of the CV method can seriously affect the validity and reliability of the estimation results. Aim To examine whether there are scope issues in respondents’ WTP for the COVID-19 vaccine and to further verify the validity and reliability of the CV estimate results. Method In this study, nine different CV double-bounded dichotomous choices (DBDC) hypothetical COVID-19 vaccine scenarios were designed using an orthogonal experimental design based on the vaccine’s attributes. A total of 2450 samples from 31 provinces in Mainland China were collected to independently estimate the public’s WTP in these nine scenarios with logistic, normal, log-logistic and log-normal parameter models. Based on this estimation, several external scope tests were designed to verify the validity and reliability of the CV estimate results. Results In the 20 pairs of COVID-19 vaccine scenarios, 6 pairs of scenarios were classified as negative scope issues, therefore not passing the external scope test. Of the remaining 14 pairs of scenarios, only four pairs of scenarios completely passed the external scope test, and one pair of scenarios partially passed the external scope test. Significant negative scope and scope insensitivity issues were revealed. Conclusion In the context of a dynamic pandemic environment, the findings of this study reveal that the CV method may face difficulty in effectively estimating respondents’ WTP for the COVID-19 vaccine. We suggest that future studies be cautious in applying the CV method to estimate the public’s WTP for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Suggested Citation

  • Jianhong Xiao & Yihui Wu & Min Wang & Zegang Ma, 2022. "Scope Issue in Contingent Valuation Studies of the COVID-19 Vaccine: The Case of China," Applied Health Economics and Health Policy, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 417-429, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:aphecp:v:20:y:2022:i:3:d:10.1007_s40258-021-00706-9
    DOI: 10.1007/s40258-021-00706-9

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Loomis, John B. & Le Trong Hung & González-Cabán, Armando, 2009. "Willingness to pay function for two fuel treatments to reduce wildfire acreage burned: A scope test and comparison of White and Hispanic households," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 155-160, May.
    2. Klose, Thomas, 1999. "The contingent valuation method in health care," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 97-123, May.
    3. Raymond Y.T. Yeung & Richard D. Smith & Sarah M. McGhee, 2003. "Willingness to pay and size of health benefit: an integrated model to test for ‘sensitivity to scale’," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(9), pages 791-796, September.
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