Willingness to Pay and QALYs: What Can We Learn about Valuing Foodborne Risk?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper examines the value of reducing foodborne risk. Previous research on the valuation of health risk has been dominated by the study of mortality risk. However, in most cases foodborne illnesses are non-fatal, so we focus on individuals' preferences for reducing morbidity risk, while also including a realistic, if remote, chance of death. We use a contingent valuation method on a Swedish sample and we estimate a value of a statistical illness consistent with previous findings in the literature. We also examine how willingness to pay (WTP) varies with the expected change in quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) and estimate the WTP per QALY. We find that WTP increases with, though less than proportionally to, a change in QALYs. However, our results also suggest that respondents may have found it difficult to evaluate compound risks of both morbidity and mortality simultaneously.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Other Agricultural Sciences not elsewhere specified
  • Economics


  • food risks, QALY, valuation, willingness to pay
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)727-752
JournalJournal of Agricultural Economics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch