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Emotions and decision rules in discrete choice experiments for valuing health care programmes for the elderly

Jorge Araña (), Carmelo J. León and Michael Hanemann ()

Journal of Health Economics, 2008, vol. 27, issue 3, 753-769

Abstract: The evaluation of health care programmes is commonly approached with stated preference methods such as contingent valuation or discrete choice experiments. These methods provide useful information for policy decisions involving health regulations and infrastructures for health care. However, econometric modelling of these data usually relies on a number of maintained assumptions, such as the use of the compensatory or random utility maximization rule. On the other hand, health policy issues can raise emotional concerns among individuals, which might induce other types of choice behaviour. In this paper we consider potential deviations from the general compensatory rule, and how these deviations might be explained by the emotional state of the subject. We utilized a mixture econometric model which allows for various potential decisions rules within the sample, such as the complete ignorance, conjunctive rule and satisfactory rules. The results show that deviations from the full linear compensatory decision rule are predominant, but they are significantly less observed for those subjects with a medium emotional state about the issue of caring for the health state of the elderly. The implication is that the emotional impact of health policy issues should be taken into account when making assumptions of individual choice behaviour in health valuation methods.

Date: 2008
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Journal of Health Economics is currently edited by J. P. Newhouse, A. J. Culyer, R. Frank, K. Claxton and T. McGuire

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