Estimating willingness to pay: Do health and environmental researchers have different methodological standards?
Health and environmental economists have been employing Stated-Preference (SP) methods such as conjoint analysis or contingent valuation to estimate the monetary value of public health interventions and environmental goods and services. However, the quality of data and the validity of results are sensitive to a number of decisions researchers make. The aim of this study is to compare the degree of the current consensus among active researchers in the rapidly evolving area of SP methods in health and environmental valuation. We surveyed researchers who have published manuscripts on SP methods in the last 10 years. Researchers were presented with hypothetical SP studies with different attributes. They were first asked which study they would recommend to use to inform policy decisions, and then asked which study has better-quality. Our results show that good-practice SP methods vary among study features and among researchers with different amounts and kinds of research experience. Although health researchers had specific preferences on which study features were better, their quality judgements were not very consistent with their judgements about the acceptability of studies for policy analysis. On the other hand, environmental researchers had similar preferences over the study attributes for the two types of questions.