Willingness to Pay for Health Improvements Using Stated Preferences: Prevention Versus Treatment [Editor's Choice]



This study aimed to investigate whether there was a difference in willingness to pay (WTP) between prevention and treatment for health benefits of equal magnitude.


We used a web-based survey instrument in a sample of the Swedish general population to perform a contingent valuation study assessing the WTP for prevention and treatment. We analyzed the WTP as a continuous variable using a two-part regression model to adjust for a mass point around 0 and a skewed distribution among respondents with a positive WTP.


The study found that people were less willing, on average, to pay at all for prevention than treatment, but those who were willing to pay for prevention had a higher WTP than for treatment. The latter effect was more substantial, and in total mean WTP for prevention was about 85% higher than for treatment.


The findings from this study contribute to the ongoing discussion on the appropriate cost-effectiveness thresholds by adding prevention as a parameter affecting the demand-side value of health improvements. As such, it can provide support to decision makers in healthcare and in health promotion priority setting.


Ellen Wolff Sofie Larsson Mikael Svensson

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