Improving (feelings of) safety is an important goal of many health systems, especially in the context of recurrent threats of pandemics, and natural disasters. Measures to improve safety should be cost-effective, raising the issue of how to value safety. This is a complex task due to the intangible nature of safety. We aim to synthesize the current empirical literature on the evaluation of safety to gain insights into current methodological practices. After a thorough literature search in two databases for papers from the fields of life sciences, social sciences, physical sciences and health sciences that empirically measure the value of increasing safety, 33 papers were found and summarized. The focus of the research was to investigate the methodologies used. Attention was also paid to theoretical papers and the methodological issues they present, and the relationship between safety and three categories of covariate results: individual characteristics, individual relationship with risk, and study design. The field of research in which the most papers were found was environmental economics, followed by transportation and health. There appeared to be two main methods for valuating safety: Contingent Valuation and Discrete Choice Experiments, within which there were also differences—for example the use of open or dichotomous choice questions. Overall this paper finds that there still appears to be a long way ahead before consensus can be attained about a standardised methodology for valuating safety. Safety valuation research would benefit from learning from previous experience and the development of more standardised methods.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Literature review Stated preferences Public health Safety
JEL Health: General (jel I10), Health Production: Nutrition, Mortality, Morbidity, Substance Abuse and Addiction, Disability, and Economic Behavior (jel I12), Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health (jel I18)
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10198-019-01076-9, hdl.handle.net/1765/116702
Journal The European Journal of Health Economics
Citation
Perry-Duxbury, M, van Exel, N.J.A, & Brouwer, W.B.F. (2019). How to value safety in economic evaluations in health care?. The European Journal of Health Economics. doi:10.1007/s10198-019-01076-9