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Can Hypothetical Questions Reveal True Values? A Laboratory Comparison of Dichotomous Choice and Open-Ended Contingent Values with Auction Values

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Author Info

  • Edward Balistreri
  • Gary McClelland
  • Gregory Poe
  • William Schulze

Abstract

Can hypothetical questions reveal true values? An examination of thelaboratory experimental literature examining contingent valuation (CV)lends some support for using open-ended hypothetical willingness to payquestions. However, experimental studies examining dichotomous choicehave found that hypothetical answers overstate demand. Consistent withthe experimental literature, published CV studies comparing open-ended todichotomous choice questions have shown that values from the dichotomouschoice method equal or exceed those of the open-ended method in everycase. This paper presents a series of experiments employing more than 800subjects to test this hypothesis for CV and compares the CV results toactual auction values in a single controlled experimental environment. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists in its journal Environmental and Resource Economics.

Volume (Year): 18 (2001)
Issue (Month): 3 (March)
Pages: 275-292

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Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:18:y:2001:i:3:p:275-292

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100263

Related research

Keywords: contingent valuation; elicitation methods; validity; experimental economics; OEQ (open-ended questions); DCQ (dichotomous choice questions); WTP (willingness to pay);

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References

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  1. Kanninen Barbara J., 1995. "Bias in Discrete Response Contingent Valuation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 114-125, January.
  2. Smith, Vernon L & Walker, James M, 1993. "Rewards, Experience and Decision Costs in First Price Auctions," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(2), pages 237-45, April.
  3. Smith, Vernon L, 1982. "Microeconomic Systems as an Experimental Science," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 923-55, December.
  4. Shogren, Jason F. & Seung Y. Shin & Dermot J. Hayes & James B. Kliebenstein, 1994. "Resolving Differences in Willingness to Pay and Willingness to Accept," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 255-70, March.
  5. John Loomis & Thomas Brown & Beatrice Lucero & George Peterson, 1997. "Evaluating the Validity of the Dichotomous Choice Question Format in Contingent Valuation," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 10(2), pages 109-123, September.
  6. Fox, John A. & Shogren, Jason F. & Hayes, Dermot J. & Kliebenstein, James, 1998. "Cvm-X: Calibrating Contingent Values with Experimental Auction Markets," Staff General Research Papers 1311, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  7. Trudy Ann Cameron, 1991. "Interval Estimates of Non-Market Resource Values from Referendum Contingent Valuation Surveys," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 67(4), pages 413-421.
  8. Cummings, Ronald G, et al, 1997. "Are Hypothetical Referenda Incentive Compatible?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(3), pages 609-21, June.
  9. Barbara J. Kanninen, 1993. "Optimal Experimental Design for Double-Bounded Dichotomous Choice Contingent Valuation," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 69(2), pages 138-146.
  10. Helen R. Neill & Ronald G. Cummings & Philip T. Ganderton & Glenn W. Harrison & Thomas McGuckin, 1994. "Hypothetical Surveys and Real Economic Commitments," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 70(2), pages 145-154.
  11. Timothy Park & John B. Loomis & Michael Creel, 1991. "Confidence Intervals for Evaluating Benefits Estimates from Dichotomous Choice Contingent Valuation Studies," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 67(1), pages 64-73.
  12. Kagel, John H & Harstad, Ronald M & Levin, Dan, 1987. "Information Impact and Allocation Rules in Auctions with Affiliated Private Values: A Laboratory Study," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(6), pages 1275-1304, November.
  13. Cummings, Ronald G & Harrison, Glenn W & Rutstrom, E Elisabet, 1995. "Homegrown Values and Hypothetical Surveys: Is the Dichotomous Choice Approach Incentive-Compatible?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 260-66, March.
  14. McClelland, Gary H & Schulze, William D & Coursey, Don L, 1993. " Insurance for Low-Probability Hazards: A Bimodal Response to Unlikely Events," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 95-116, August.
  15. Joseph Cooper & John Loomis, 1992. "Sensitivity of Willingness-to-Pay Estimates to Bid Design in Dichotomous Choice Contingent Valuation Models," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 68(2), pages 211-224.
  16. Levin, Dan & Kagel, John H & Richard, Jean-Francois, 1996. "Revenue Effects and Information Processing in English Common Value Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 442-60, June.
  17. Smith, Vernon L & Walker, James M, 1993. "Monetary Rewards and Decision Cost in Experimental Economics," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(2), pages 245-61, April.
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