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Does context matter more for hypothetical than for actual contributions? Evidence from a natural field experiment

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  • Francisco Alpizar
  • Fredrik Carlsson

    ()

  • Olof Johansson-Stenman

Abstract

We investigate the importance of the social context for people’s voluntary contributions to a national park in Costa Rica, using a natural field experiment. Some subjects make actual contributions while others state their hypothetical contribution. Both the degree of anonymity and provided information about the contributions of others influence subject contributions in the hypothesized direction. We do find a substantial hypothetical bias with regard to the amount contributed. However, the influence of the social contexts is about the same when the subjects make actual monetary contributions as when they state theirhypothetical contributions. Our results have important implications for validity testing of stated preference methods: a comparison between hypothetical and actual behavior should be done for a given social context.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Experimental Economics.

Volume (Year): 11 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 299-314

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Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:11:y:2008:i:3:p:299-314

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=102888

Related research

Keywords: Environmental valuation; Stated preference methods; Voluntary contributions; Anonymity; Conformity; Natural field experiment; C93; Q50;

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References

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Cited by:
  1. Schilizzi, Steven, 2011. "Equity judgments and context dependence: Knowledge, efficiency and incentives," Working Papers 100887, University of Western Australia, School of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
  2. Dale Whittington & Vic Adamowicz, 2010. "The Use of Hypothetical Baselines in Stated Preference Surveys," EEPSEA Special and Technical Paper sp201009s1, Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia (EEPSEA), revised Sep 2010.
  3. Fredrik Carlsson & Mitesh Kataria & Alan Krupnick & Elina Lampi & Asa Löfgren & Ping Qin & Thomas Sterner & Susie Chung, 2010. "The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth A Multiple Country Test of an Oath Script," Jena Economic Research Papers 2010-076, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  4. Fredrik Carlsson, 2010. "Design of Stated Preference Surveys: Is There More to Learn from Behavioral Economics?," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 46(2), pages 167-177, June.
  5. Newman, George E. & Jeremy Shen, Y., 2012. "The counterintuitive effects of thank-you gifts on charitable giving," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 973-983.
  6. Newell, Laurie W. & Swallow, Stephen K., 2013. "Real-payment choice experiments: Valuing forested wetlands and spatial attributes within a landscape context," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 37-47.
  7. John List, 2008. "Introduction to field experiments in economics with applications to the economics of charity," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 203-212, September.
  8. Konow, James, 2010. "Mixed feelings: Theories of and evidence on giving," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(3-4), pages 279-297, April.
  9. Omar Al-Ubaydli & John A. List, 2013. "On the Generalizability of Experimental Results in Economics: With a Response to Commentors," CESifo Working Paper Series 4543, CESifo Group Munich.
  10. Juan Camilo C�rdenas, 2009. "Experiments in Environment and Development," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 157-182, 09.

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