Early warning systems for infectious diseases and foodborne outbreaks are designed with the aim of increasing the health safety of citizens. As a first step to determine whether investing in such a system offers value for money, this study used contingent valuation to estimate people’s willingness to pay for such an early warning system in six European countries. The contingent valuation experiment was conducted through online questionnaires administered in February to March 2018 to cross-sectional, representative samples in the UK, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Italy, and The Netherlands, yielding a total sample size of 3140. Mean willingness to pay for an early warning system was €21.80 (median €10.00) per household per month. Pooled regression results indicate that willingness to pay increased with household income and risk aversion, while they decreased with age. Overall, our results indicate that approximately 80–90% of people would be willing to pay for an increase in health safety in the form of an early warning system for infectious diseases and food-borne outbreaks. However, our results have to be interpreted in light of the usual drawbacks of willingness to pay experiments.
Data and code will be made available shortly.