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Eliciting preferences for collectively financed health programmes: the 'willingness to assign' approach


  • Joan Costa-Font
  • Joan Rovira


Improving public involvement in health system decision making stands as a primary health policy goal. However, still limited guidance is available on how best to elicit preferences for health care programmes. This study examines a contingent choice technique to elicit preferences among health programmes, and named 'willingness to assign' (WTAS). WTAS reveals relative (monetary-based) values of a set of competing public programmes under a hypothetical healthcare budget assessment. Experimental evidence is reported from a deliberative empirical study valuing ten health programmes in the context of the Catalan Health Service. Evidence from this experimental study reveals that within the context of multiple programmes, preferences are internally more consistent and slightly less affected by 'preference reversals' as compared to values revealed from an adapted technique eliciting the willingness to pay (WTP) extra taxes. Another finding suggests that although programmes promoting health received the higher relative valuation, those promoting other health benefits were valued highly.

Suggested Citation

  • Joan Costa-Font & Joan Rovira, 2005. "Eliciting preferences for collectively financed health programmes: the 'willingness to assign' approach," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(14), pages 1571-1583.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:37:y:2005:i:14:p:1571-1583
    DOI: 10.1080/00036840500181695

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Cookson, Richard, 2000. "Incorporating psycho-social considerations into health valuation: an experimental study," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 369-401, May.
    2. Donaldson, Cam, 1990. "Willingness to pay for publicly-provided goods : A Possible Measure of Benefit?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 103-118, June.
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    7. Cookson, Richard & Dolan, Paul, 1999. "Public views on health care rationing: a group discussion study," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(1-2), pages 63-74, September.
    8. Paul Dolan & Jan Abel Olsen & Paul Menzel & Jeff Richardson, 2003. "An inquiry into the different perspectives that can be used when eliciting preferences in health," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(7), pages 545-551.
    9. Milena Pavlova & Wim Groot & Godefridus Van Merode, 2004. "Willingness and ability of Bulgarian consumers to pay for improved public health care services," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(10), pages 1117-1130.
    10. Phil Shackley & Simon Dixon, 2000. "Using contingent valuation to elicit public preferences for water fluoridation," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(6), pages 777-787.
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    Cited by:

    1. Costa -Font, Joan & Forns, Joan Rovira & Sato, Azusa, 2015. "Participatory health system priority setting: Evidence from a budget experiment," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 182-190.
    2. Ozdemir, Semra & Johnson, F. Reed & Whittington, Dale, 2016. "Ideology, public goods and welfare valuation: An experiment on allocating government budgets," Journal of choice modelling, Elsevier, vol. 20(C), pages 61-72.
    3. Erik Nord & Jose Luis Pinto & Jeff Richardson & Paul Menzel & Peter Ubel, 1999. "Incorporating societal concerns for fairness in numerical valuations of health programmes," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(1), pages 25-39.
    4. Rinaldo Brau & Matteo Lippi Bruni & Anna Maria Pinna, 2010. "Public versus private demand for covering long-term care expenditures," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(28), pages 3651-3668.
    5. Zigante, Valentina, 2011. "Assessing welfare effects of the European Choice Agenda: the case of health care in the United Kingdom," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 53449, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    6. Valentina Zigante, 2011. "Assessing Welfare Effects of the European Choice Agenda: The case of health care in the United Kingdom," Europe in Question Discussion Paper Series of the London School of Economics (LEQs) 5, London School of Economics / European Institute.
    7. Valentina Zigante, 2011. "Assessing Welfare Effects of the European Choice Agenda: The case of health care in the United Kingdom," LEQS – LSE 'Europe in Question' Discussion Paper Series 35, European Institute, LSE.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • H43 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Project Evaluation; Social Discount Rate
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement


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