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Health Econ. 2012 Mar;21(3):222-37. doi: 10.1002/hec.1709. Epub 2011 Jan 20.

Disentangling WTP per QALY data: different analytical approaches, different answers.

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Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark.


A large random sample of the Danish general population was asked to value health improvements by way of both the time trade-off elicitation technique and willingness-to-pay (WTP) using contingent valuation methods. The data demonstrate a high degree of heterogeneity across respondents in their relative valuations on the two scales. This has implications for data analysis. We show that the estimates of WTP per QALY are highly sensitive to the analytical strategy. For both open-ended and dichotomous choice data we demonstrate that choice of aggregated approach (ratios of means) or disaggregated approach (means of ratios) affects estimates markedly as does the interpretation of the constant term (which allows for disproportionality across the two scales) in the regression analyses. We propose that future research should focus on why some respondents are unwilling to trade on the time trade-off scale, on how to interpret the constant value in the regression analyses, and on how best to capture the heterogeneity in preference structures when applying mixed multinomial logit.

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