, Volume 24, Issue 9, pp 855–868 | Cite as

Using Discrete Choice Experiments within a Cost-Benefit Analysis Framework

Some Considerations
  • Emma McIntosh
Leading Article


A great advantage of the stated preference discrete choice experiment (SPDCE) approach to economic evaluation methodology is its immense flexibility within applied cost-benefit analyses (CBAs). However, while the use of SPDCEs in healthcare has increased markedly in recent years there has been a distinct lack of equivalent CBAs in healthcare using such SPDCE-derived valuations. This article outlines specific issues and some practical suggestions for consideration relevant to the development of CBAs using SPDCE-derived benefits.

The article shows that SPDCE-derived CBA can adopt recent developments in cost-effectiveness methodology including the cost-effectiveness plane, appropriate consideration of uncertainty, the net-benefit framework and probabilistic sensitivity analysis methods, while maintaining the theoretical advantage of the SPDCE approach. The concept of a cost-benefit plane is no different in principle to the cost-effectiveness plane and can be a useful tool for reporting and presenting the results of CBAs.

However, there are many challenging issues to address for the advancement of CBA methodology using SPCDEs within healthcare. Particular areas for development include the importance of accounting for uncertainty in SPDCE-derived willingness-to-pay values, the methodology of SPDCEs in clinical trial settings and economic models, measurement issues pertinent to using SPDCEs specifically in healthcare, and the importance of issues such as consideration of the dynamic nature of healthcare and the resulting impact this has on the validity of attribute definitions and context.


Contingent Valuation Probabilistic Sensitivity Analysis Benefit Transfer Payment Vehicle Welfare Estimate 
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.



The author would like to thank Professor Mandy Ryan and Dr Sarah Wordsworth for comments on earlier drafts of the article and Professor Andy Briggs and Dr Luke Vale for related discussions to ongoing applied work in this area. The author is grateful to anonymous referees for providing valuable comments. The author has no relevant conflicts of interest and received no funding for the preparation of this article.


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Copyright information

© Adis Data Information BV 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Public Health, Health Economics Research CentreUniversity of OxfordHeadington, OxfordUK

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