Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Karlstad University Working Papers in Economics,
Karlstad University, Department of Economics

No 12: The Willingness to Pay for a QALY: a Review of the Empirical Literature

Linda Ryen () and Mikael Svensson ()
Additional contact information
Linda Ryen: Dept. of Economics, Postal: Dept of Economics, Karlstad University, Universitetsgatan 1, SE 651 88 Karlstad, Sweden
Mikael Svensson: Dept. of Economics, Postal: Dept of Economics, Karlstad University, Universitetsgatan 1, SE 651 88 Karlstad, Sweden

Abstract: There has been a rapid increase in the use of cost-effectiveness analysis, with Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALYs) as an outcome measure, in evaluating both medical technologies and public health interventions. Alongside, there is a growing literature on the monetary value of a QALY based on estimates of the willingness to pay (WTP). This paper conducts a review of the literature on the WTP for a QALY. In total 24 studies containing 383 unique estimates of the WTP for a QALY are identified. Trimmed mean and median estimates amount to 74,159 and 24,226 Euros (2010 price level), respectively. In regression analyses the results indicate that the WTP for a QALY is significantly higher if the QALY gain comes from life extension rather than quality of life improvements. The results also show that the WTP for a QALY is dependent on the size of the QALY gain valued.

Keywords: QALY; Willingness to pay; Literature Review

JEL-codes: D61; H51; I18

29 pages, July 28, 2014

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