Not all respondents use a multiplicative utility function in choice experiments for health state valuations, which should be reflected in the elicitation format (or statistical analysis)

Marcel F. Jonker*, Richard Norman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Discrete choice experiments (DCEs) that include health states and duration are becoming a common method for estimating quality-adjusted life year (QALY) tariffs. These DCEs need to be analyzed under the assumption that respondents treat health and duration multiplicatively. However, in the most commonly used DCE duration format there is no guarantee that respondents actually do so; in fact, respondents can easily simplify the choice tasks by considering health and duration separately. This would result in valid DCE responses but preclude subsequent QALY tariff calculations. Using a Bayesian latent class model and data from two existing valuation studies, our analyses confirm that in both datasets the majority of respondents do not appear to have used a multiplicative utility function. Moreover, a statistical correction for respondents who used an incorrect function changes the range of the QALY weights. Hence our results imply that one can neither assume that respondents use the theoretically required multiplicative utility function nor assume that the type of utility function that respondents use does not affect the estimated QALY weights. As a solution, we advise researchers to use an alternative, more constrained DCE elicitation format that avoids these behavioral problems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-439
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Economics (United Kingdom)
Volume31
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding information: EuroQol Research Foundation

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Health Economics published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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