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If the price is right: vagueness and values clarification in contingent valuation

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  • Alan Shiell
  • Lisa Gold

Abstract

The use of willingness to pay to value the benefits of health care is increasing. Much of this work assumes that health preferences are well formed or ‘complete’ and readily revealed if the right question is asked in the right way. We examined this assumption, seeking evidence in a mixed‐methods study that explored the meaning and implications of vague responses to a payment‐scale based willingness to pay exercise. One‐half of the sample said that their vagueness meant that their maximum willingness to pay was actually greater than the amount that they had previously said it was. Thirty percent agreed that they would probably pay £10 more than a sum that they had previously said they would most definitely not pay, if they found this to be the cost of the vaccine. Interview data supported the view that the payment scale had failed to elicit the maximum willingness to pay and that some participants used the information on cost to help clarify their values, in contrast to the theory underpinning willingness to pay. The results suggest a need to consider values‐clarification in health economic evaluations. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan Shiell & Lisa Gold, 2003. "If the price is right: vagueness and values clarification in contingent valuation," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(11), pages 909-919, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:12:y:2003:i:11:p:909-919
    DOI: 10.1002/hec.777
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    5. Richard D. Smith, 2007. "The role of 'reference goods' in contingent valuation: should we help respondents to 'construct' their willingness to pay?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(12), pages 1319-1332.
    6. Trine Bergmo & Silje Wangberg, 2007. "Patients’ willingness to pay for electronic communication with their general practitioner," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 8(2), pages 105-110, June.
    7. Richard D. Smith, 2007. "The role of ‘reference goods’ in contingent valuation: should we help respondents to ‘construct’ their willingness to pay?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(12), pages 1319-1332, December.
    8. David K. Whynes & Zoë Philips & Emma Frew, 2005. "Think of a number… any number?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(11), pages 1191-1195, November.

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