• Risk probabilities;
  • risk perception;
  • risk communication;
  • willingness-to-pay

The study investigated the effects of incidence rates stated as a probability (e.g., 0006) and incidence rate information expressed in terms of frequency (e.g., 600 in 1,000,000) on risk-avoidant behavior. Subjects were informed about the risks associated with an old and a new, improved medication. They were asked how much they were willing to pay for the safer medicine. Risk information was given either in a frequency or a probability format. The second factor manipulated was the level of risk, either high or low. As expected, analysis of variance yielded a significant interaction. Subjects confronted with high risk in the frequency format were willing to pay the highest prices for the improved medication. The choice between frequency or probability format can be made according to the goal of the communication of risk.