Survey modes comparison in contingent valuation: Internet panels and mail surveys

Mandy Ryan* (Corresponding Author), Emmanouil Mentzakis, Catriona Matheson, Christine Bond

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
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Stated preferences methods are extensively applied in health economics to elicit preferences. Whilst mailed surveys were commonly used to collect data, internet panel (IP) surveys are being increasingly used. This raises questions about the validity of responses and estimated willingness-to-pay (WTP) values generated from IP surveys. We conduct the first study in health to compare a contingent valuation (CV) internet panel survey with a mailed survey using the Electoral Roll. Our IP has a higher response rate and lower item missing response rate. The difference is reduced but remains when restricting comparisons to valid WTPs. Sample characteristics differ, with significant differences between modes for gender, age, income, and attitudes and knowledge. Whilst difference in WTP values exist, with the IP resulting in higher values, we find limited evidence that such differences are statistically significant. The mail survey has lower initial cost per response; however, once restricting samples to valid WTP responses with non-missing respondent information the cost per response across modes is similar. Our results, suggesting that internet panels generate valid and cost-effective values, are encouraging as researchers move increasingly to IPs to collect preference data.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234-242
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Economics
Issue number2
Early online date11 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020


  • contingent valuation
  • internet panels
  • mailed survey
  • mode effects
  • willingness to pay


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