Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice

Estimating willingness‐to‐pay for health care: A discrete choice experiment accounting for non‐attendance to the cost attribute

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Abstract Rationale, aims, and objectives The literature suggests that discrete choice experiments (DCEs) are a preferable method for estimating willingness‐to‐pay (WTP) values, as they may avoid some biases often observed in contingent valuation surveys, such as protest and strategic behaviour. However, the choice studies have demonstrated that attribute non‐attendance may be a serious issue that leads to biased WTP estimates. Method A DCE was used to estimate patients' WTP for dental care at the dental school clinic. The endogenous attribute attendance (EAA) model was used to estimate WTP for dental care attributes, while accounting for non‐attendance to the cost attribute. Results The EAA model revealed that almost every second respondent had ignored the cost attribute when making choices, indicating that patients were very sensitive to other characteristics of dental care. Dental care providers should pay particular attention to providing a detailed explanation of treatment to their patients, as this was the most valued attribute of dental care. The welfare estimates from the EAA model, which accounted for non‐attendance to the cost attribute, were more than two times lower than welfare estimates from a traditional multinomial logit model and mixed logit model estimated in WTP space. Conclusions The findings raise concerns for derived WTP estimates in DCE studies that did not consider non‐attendance to the cost attribute during the estimation process. Non‐attendance to the cost attribute overestimates WTP values, even if being motivated by the true preferences of respondents.

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