Economic valuation of informal care

An overview of methods and applications
  • Bernard van den BergEmail author
  • Werner B. F. Brouwer
  • Marc A. Koopmanschap
Original Papers


Informal care makes up a significant part of the total amount of care provided to care recipients with chronic and terminal diseases. Still, informal care is often neglected in economic evaluations of health care programs. Probably this is related to the fact that the costs of informal care are to an important extent related to time inputs by relatives and friends of care recipients and time is not easy to value. Development of theoretically sound, yet easily applicable valuation methods is therefore important since ignoring the costs of informal care may lead to undesirable shifts between formal and informal care. Moreover, there is increasing evidence that providing informal care may lead to health problems for the caregiver, both in terms of morbidity and mortality. Until now these health effects have not been incorporated in economic evaluations. More attention for the identification and valuation of the full costs and (health) effects of informal care for the informal caregiver seems needed therefore. This contribution presents a critical evaluation of the available methods to incorporate informal care in economic evaluations.


Informal care Valuation methods Economic evaluation 



A previous draft of this paper was presented at the Third International Conference of the International Health Economics Association 2001 in York, UK. We thank Frans Rutten, Wien Limburg, and two anonymous referees for their comments and The Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZON-MW; grant-number 945-10-044) for their funding. Bernard van den Berg acknowledges support from the Netherlands Institute for Health Sciences (Nihes).

Conflict of interest:

No comment.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bernard van den Berg
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  • Werner B. F. Brouwer
    • 1
    • 2
  • Marc A. Koopmanschap
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Health Policy and ManagementErasmus Medical CenterRotterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Institute for Medical Technology AssessmentErasmus Medical CenterRotterdamThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department for Prevention and Health Services ResearchNational Institute for Public Health and the EnvironmentThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Department of Health Policy and Management and Institute for Medical Technology AssessmentErasmus Medical Center RotterdamRotterdamThe Netherlands

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