Random Regret-Based Discrete-Choice Modelling: An Application to Healthcare

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A new modelling approach for analysing data from discrete-choice experiments (DCEs) has been recently developed in transport economics based on the notion of regret minimization-driven choice behaviour. This so-called Random Regret Minimization (RRM) approach forms an alternative to the dominant Random Utility Maximization (RUM) approach. The RRM approach is able to model semi-compensatory choice behaviour and compromise effects, while being as parsimonious and formally tractable as the RUM approach.


Our objectives were to introduce the RRM modelling approach to healthcare-related decisions, and to investigate its usefulness in this domain.


Using data from DCEs aimed at determining valuations of attributes of osteoporosis drug treatments and human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccinations, we empirically compared RRM models, RUM models and Hybrid RUM–RRM models in terms of goodness of fit, parameter ratios and predicted choice probabilities.


In terms of model fit, the RRM model did not outperform the RUM model significantly in the case of the osteoporosis DCE data (p = 0.21), whereas in the case of the HPV DCE data, the Hybrid RUM–RRM model outperformed the RUM model (p < 0.05). Differences in predicted choice probabilities between RUM models and (Hybrid RUM-) RRM models were small. Derived parameter ratios did not differ significantly between model types, but trade-offs between attributes implied by the two models can vary substantially.


Differences in model fit between RUM, RRM and Hybrid RUM–RRM were found to be small. Although our study did not show significant differences in parameter ratios, the RRM and Hybrid RUM–RRM models did feature considerable differences in terms of the trade-offs implied by these ratios. In combination, our results suggest that RRM and Hybrid RUM–RRM modelling approach hold the potential of offering new and policy-relevant insights for health researchers and policy makers.

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