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Health Econ. 2003 Aug;12(8):609-28.

Construction of the contingent valuation market in health care: a critical assessment.

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  • 1Health Economics Group, School of Medicine, Health Policy & Practice, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK.


Contingent valuation (CV) has been criticised for being too hypothetical, with expressed values bearing little relation to actual values. The magnitude of this divergence, however, depends upon how realistic and believable the contingent market is. This paper presents an overview of five key aspects in the construction of the contingent market: (i) scenario development and presentation; (ii) payment vehicle; (iii) expression of risk; (iv) time period of valuation; and (v) survey administration. CV studies in health care since 1985, totalling 111, are critically reviewed with respect to these five aspects. It is concluded that CV studies in health care have performed poorly in the construction, specification and presentation of the contingent market, and that there has been little, if any, improvement in this respect over the last 15 years. Suggestions are made concerning why this may be the case, and how the construction of the contingent market may be improved in future.

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