A preference for quality: Australian general public's willingness to pay for home and residential aged care

Billingsley Kaambwa, Gang Chen, Jyoti Khadka, Rachel Milte, Christine Mpundu-Kaambwa, Taylor-Jade Woods, Julie Ratcliffe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


In Australia and many other countries internationally, aged care services are provided to older people in their own homes or residential care facilities. The majority of these services are funded by the federal government using taxpayer contributions from the general public. However, the monetary value Australians place on aged care services, and the factors that predict this value, have not been examined. We, therefore, sought to determine the general public's willingness to pay (WTP) for aged care services and examine which factors influence this WTP. A cross-sectional contingent valuation survey was administered to a nationally representative cohort of 10,285 Australians between September and October 2020 from the general population aged 18 years and over. Respondents were asked to indicate their WTP values for satisfactory and high-quality aged care services to be provided in the future. A two-part regression model was used to explain what factors explained variation in WTP. In total, 80% (61%) of respondents were willing to pay to access satisfactory (high) quality home care (counterpart figures for residential care were 64% (45%)). On average, respondents were willing to pay between $126 and $158 ($145 and $237) per week to receive satisfactory-quality (high-quality) home care and between $333 and $520 ($308 and $680) per week for satisfactory-quality (high-quality) residential care. Respondents were willing to pay an additional $120 per week on average to access high-quality aged care. Higher WTP values were generally associated with being younger, male, recent experience with aged care through a close family member accessing aged care and ability to pay. These results suggest general public support for payment of individual co-contributions to access aged care services in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Article number114425
Number of pages19
JournalSocial Science & Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Contingent valuation
  • Willingness to pay
  • Quality of aged care
  • Home care
  • Residential care

Cite this