Abstract Objectives Productivity losses usually have a considerable impact on cost-effectiveness estimates while their estimated values are often relatively uncertain. Therefore, parameters related to these indirect costs play a role in setting priorities for future research from a societal perspective. Until now, however, value of information analyses have usually applied a health care perspective for economic evaluations. Hence, the effect of productivity losses has rarely been investigated in such analyses. The aim of the current study therefore was to investigate the effects of including or excluding productivity costs in value of information analyses. Methods Expected value of information analysis (EVPI) was performed in cost-effectiveness evaluation of prevention from both societal and health care perspectives, to give us the opportunity to compare different perspectives. Priorities for future research were determined by partial EVPI. The program to prevent major depression in patients with subthreshold depression was opportunistic screening followed by minimal contact psychotherapy. Results The EVPI indicated that regardless of perspective, further research is potentially worthwhile. Partial EVPI results underlined the importance of productivity losses when a societal perspective was considered. Furthermore, priority setting for future research differed according to perspective. Conclusions The results illustrated that advise for future research will differ for a health care versus a societal perspective and hence the value of information analysis should be adjusted to the perspective that is relevant for the decision makers involved. The outcomes underlined the need for carefully choosing the suitable perspective for the decision problem at hand.