Taking the Shortcut: Simplifying Heuristics in Discrete Choice Experiments

Jorien Veldwijk*, Stella Maria Marceta, Joffre Dan Swait, Stefan Adriaan Lipman, Esther Wilhelmina de Bekker-Grob

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


Health-related discrete choice experiments (DCEs) information can be used to inform decision-making on the development, authorisation, reimbursement and marketing of drugs and devices as well as treatments in clinical practice. Discrete choice experiment is a stated preference method based on random utility theory (RUT), which imposes strong assumptions on respondent choice behaviour. However, respondents may use choice processes that do not adhere to the normative rationality assumptions implied by RUT, applying simplifying decision rules that are more selective in the amount and type of processed information (i.e., simplifying heuristics). An overview of commonly detected simplifying heuristics in health-related DCEs is lacking, making it unclear how to identify and deal with these heuristics; more specifically, how researchers might alter DCE design and modelling strategies to accommodate for the effects of heuristics. Therefore, the aim of this paper is three-fold: (1) provide an overview of common simplifying heuristics in health-related DCEs, (2) describe how choice task design and context as well as target population selection might impact the use of heuristics, (3) outline DCE design strategies that recognise the use of simplifying heuristics and develop modelling strategies to demonstrate the detection and impact of simplifying heuristics in DCE study outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-315
Number of pages15
Issue number4
Early online date2 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

J. Veldwijk, S. M. Marceta, J. D. Swait, and S. A. Lipman were supported by the Erasmus Initiative ‘Smarter Choices for Better Health’. E. W. de Bekker-Grob was funded via the Dutch Research Council (NWO-Talent-Scheme-Vidi-Grant no. 09150171910002).

Publisher Copyright: © 2023, The Author(s).


Dive into the research topics of 'Taking the Shortcut: Simplifying Heuristics in Discrete Choice Experiments'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this