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Preference elicitation under oath

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  • Jacquemet, Nicolas
  • Joule, Robert-Vincent
  • Luchini, Stéphane
  • Shogren, Jason F.

Abstract

Eliciting sincere preferences for non-market goods remain a challenge due to the discrepency between hypothetical and real behavior and false zeros. The gap arises because people either overstate hypothetical values or understate real commitments or a combination of both. Herein we examine whether the traditional real-world institution of the solemn oath can improve preference elicitation. Applying the social psychology theory on the oath as a truth-telling-commitment device, we ask our bidders to swear on their honour to give honest answers prior to participating in an incentive-compatible second-price auction. The oath is an ancillary mechanism to commit bidders to bid sincerely in a second-price auction. Results from our induced valuation testbed treatments suggest that the oath-only auctions outperform all our other auctions (real and hypothetical). In our homegrown valuation treatments eliciting preferences for dolphin protection, the oath-only design induced people to treat as binding both their experimental budget constraint (i.e., lower values on the high end of the value distribution) and participation constraint (i.e., positive values in place of the zero bids used to opt-out of auction). Based on companion treatments, we show the oath works through an increase in the willingness to tell the truth, due to a strengthening of the intrinsic motivation to do so.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Environmental Economics and Management.

Volume (Year): 65 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 110-132

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeeman:v:65:y:2013:i:1:p:110-132

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622870

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Keywords: Oath; Commitment; Vickrey auction; Hypothetical bias; Induced values; Homegrown values;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Loomis, John B., 2014. "2013WAEA Keynote Address: Strategies for Overcoming Hypothetical Bias in Stated Preference Surveys," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 39(1), April.
  2. Jason F. Shogren & Jason F. Shogren, 2013. "Bidding Behavior given Point and Interval Values in a Second-price Auction," The School of Economics Discussion Paper Series 1310, Economics, The University of Manchester.
  3. Mitesh Kataria & Fabian Winter, 2012. "Third Party Assessments in Trust Problems with Conflict of Interest: An Experiment on the Effects of Promises," Jena Economic Research Papers 2012-067, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  4. Carlsson, Fredrik & Kataria, Mitesh & Krupnick, Alan & Lampi, Elina & Löfgren, Åsa & Qin, Ping & Sterner, Thomas & Chung, Susie, 2010. "The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth - A Multiple Country Test of an Oath Script," Working Papers in Economics 473, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  5. Stachtiaris, Spiros & Drichoutis, Andreas & Nayga, Rodolfo & Klonaris, Stathis, 2011. "Can religious priming induce truthful preference revelation?," MPRA Paper 34433, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. de Magistris, Tiziana & Pascucci, Stefano, 2012. "Consumers´ preferences for the millennium bugs. Does “solemn oath” mitigate the hypothetical bias in choice experiment?," 2012 Annual Meeting, August 12-14, 2012, Seattle, Washington 124834, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  7. Bosworth Ryan & Taylor Laura O., 2012. "Hypothetical Bias in Choice Experiments: Is Cheap Talk Effective at Eliminating Bias on the Intensive and Extensive Margins of Choice?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-28, December.
  8. Alec Smith & B. Douglas Bernheim & Colin Camerer & Antonio Rangel, 2013. "Neural Activity Reveals Preferences Without Choices," NBER Working Papers 19270, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Drichoutis, Andreas & Lusk, Jayson & Nayga, Rodolfo, 2013. "The veil of experimental currency units," MPRA Paper 46906, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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