, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 335–344 | Cite as

How to Estimate Productivity Costs in Economic Evaluations

  • Marieke Krol
  • Werner Brouwer
Practical Application


Productivity costs are frequently omitted from economic evaluations, despite their often strong impact on cost-effectiveness outcomes. This neglect may be partly explained by the lack of standardization regarding the methodology of estimating productivity costs. This paper aims to contribute to standardization of productivity cost methodology by offering practical guidance on how to estimate productivity costs in economic evaluations. The paper discusses the identification, measurement and valuation of productivity losses. It is recommended to include not only productivity losses related to absenteeism from and reduced productivity at paid work, but also those related to unpaid work. Hence, it is recommended to use a measurement instrument including questions about both paid and unpaid productivity, such as the iMTA Productivity Cost Questionnaire (iPCQ) or the Valuation of Lost Productivity (VOLP). We indicate how to apply the friction cost and the human capital approach and give practical guidance on deriving final cost estimates.


Productivity Cost Economic Evaluation Recall Period Unpaid Work Human Capital Approach 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to thank Clazien Bouwmans, Leona Hakkaart-van Roijen and Marc Koopmanschap for their useful comments on earlier drafts of this paper. For reasons of transparency, we indicate that both MK and WB are proponents of the friction cost method and were both involved in the development of the iPCQ questionnaire. The authors have no other conflicts of interest to declare. MK was primarily responsible for writing the manuscript in close cooperation with WB. Both authors read, edited, and approved the final manuscript. MK is the overall guarantor for the content.

Supplementary material

40273_2014_132_MOESM1_ESM.docx (20 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 19 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Health Policy and ManagementErasmus UniversityRotterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Institute for Medical Technology AssessmentErasmus UniversityRotterdamThe Netherlands

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