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Researching Preferences, Valuation and Hypothetical Bias

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  • Rolando Guzman
  • Charles Kolstad

    ()

Abstract

A number of recent papers in environmental economics have focused on the process of researching preferences – agents are uncertain about preferences but with effort may narrow their uncertainty. This issue has arisen in formulating bids in contingent valuation (CV) as well as the debate over the divergence between WTP and WTA. In the context of CV, it has been suggested that the hypothetical nature of the preference elicitation process biases responses. This paper provides both a theoretical model and experimental evidence to contribute to this debate. The model is a model of competitive bidding for a private good with two components that are particularly relevant to the debate. The first component is that bidders are unsure of their own value for the private good but may purchase information about their own value (researching preferences). The second component is that there is a probability that the auction is hypothetical – that the winning bidder will not get the private good and will not pay the winning bid. The experiment tests this theoretical model of bidding equilibrium and analyzes the effects of variations in the parameters (hypotheticalness, information costs and number of agents) on the endogenous variables (such as the proportion of bidders who become informed and the winning bid). Experimental results suggest that an increase in the hypotheticalness of an auction tends to decrease the likelihood that bidders pay for information on their valuation with an ambiguous effect on the winning bid. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

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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): 37 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 465-487

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Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:37:y:2007:i:3:p:465-487

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

Related research

Keywords: bidding; contingent valuation; hypothetical bias; information acquisition; private values auction; researching preferences; uncertainty; valuation; value discovery; C900; D440; D800; Q500; Q510;

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References

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  1. Matthew Rabin., 2000. "Risk Aversion and Expected-Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem," Economics Working Papers E00-279, University of California at Berkeley.
  2. Nicola Persico, 2000. "Information Acquisition in Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(1), pages 135-148, January.
  3. Kolstad, Charles D., 1997. "A Model of Auction Equilibrium with Costly Information Acquisition," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt4502p3n4, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  4. Milgrom, Paul R & Weber, Robert J, 1982. "A Theory of Auctions and Competitive Bidding," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1089-1122, September.
  5. Richard Carson & Nicholas Flores & Norman Meade, 2001. "Contingent Valuation: Controversies and Evidence," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 19(2), pages 173-210, June.
  6. Schweizer, Urs & von Ungern-Sternberg, Thomas, 1983. "Sealed Bid Auctions and the Search for Better Information," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 50(197), pages 79-85, February.
  7. Zhao, Jinhua & Kling, Catherine L., 2001. "A new explanation for the WTP/WTA disparity," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 73(3), pages 293-300, December.
  8. 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.
  9. Sanford J Grossman & Joseph E Stiglitz, 1997. "On the Impossibility of Informationally Efficient Markets," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1908, David K. Levine.
  10. Lee, Tom K., 1985. "Competition and information acquisition in first price auctions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 18(2-3), pages 129-132.
  11. Guzman, Rolando M & Kolstad, Charles D., 1997. "Auction Equilibrium with Costly Information Acquisition," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt4w0787ng, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  12. Kolstad, Charles D. & Guzman, Rolando M., 1999. "Information and the Divergence between Willingness to Accept and Willingness to Pay," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 66-80, July.
  13. Engelbrecht-Wiggans, Richard & Milgrom, Paul R. & Weber, Robert J., 1983. "Competitive bidding and proprietary information," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 161-169, April.
  14. Patrick Bajari & Ali Horta�su, 2004. "Economic Insights from Internet Auctions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(2), pages 457-486, June.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Eriksson, Stefan & Johansson, Per & Langenskiöld, Sophie, 2012. "What is the right profile for getting a job? A stated choice experiment of the recruitment process," Working Paper Series 2012:13, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  2. Nicolas Jacquemet & Robert-Vincent Joule & Stephane Luchini & Jason Shogren, 2010. "Do people always pay less than they say? Testbed laboratory experiments with IV and HG values," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00443668, HAL.
  3. Hermann Donfouet & P. Jeanty & P.-A. Mahieu, 2014. "Dealing with internal inconsistency in double-bounded dichotomous choice: an application to community-based health insurance," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 46(1), pages 317-328, February.
  4. Nathalie Havet & Magali Morelle & Alexis Penot & Raphaël Remonnay, 2012. "The information content of the WTP-WTA gap: An empirical analysis among severely ill patients," Working Papers 1213, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Université Lyon 2, Ecole Normale Supérieure.
  5. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00443668 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Bush, Glenn & Hanley, Nicholas & Rondeau, Daniel, 2011. "Comparing opportunity cost measures of forest conservation in Uganda; implications for assessing the distributional impacts of forest management approac hes," Stirling Economics Discussion Papers 2011-12, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.

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