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Willingness to Pay, Compensating Variation, and the Cost of Commitment

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  • Jinhua Zhao
  • Catherine L. Kling

Abstract

Hicksian welfare theory is static in nature, but many decisions are made in a dynamic environment. We present a dynamic model of an agent's decision to purchase or sell a good under the realistic conditions of uncertainty, irreversibility, and learning over time. Her willingness to pay (WTP) contains both the intrinsic value of the good as in Hicksian theory plus a commitment cost associated with delaying to obtain more information. The Hicksian equivalence between WTP/Willingness to accept (WTA) and compensating and equivalent variations no longer holds. The WTP and WTA divergence may arise and observed WTP values are not always appropriate for welfare analysis. (JEL D60, D83) Copyright 2004, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Western Economic Association International in its journal Economic Inquiry.

Volume (Year): 42 (2004)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 503-517

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Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:42:y:2004:i:3:p:503-517

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Cited by:
  1. Zhao, Jinhua & Kling, Catherine L., 2001. "A new explanation for the WTP/WTA disparity," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 73(3), pages 293-300, December.
  2. Lusk, Jayson L. & Norwood, F. Bailey, 2009. "Bridging the gap between laboratory experiments and naturally occurring markets: An inferred valuation method," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 236-250, September.
  3. Jay Corrigan & Catherine Kling & Jinhua Zhao, 2008. "Willingness to Pay and the Cost of Commitment: An Empirical Specification and Test," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 40(2), pages 285-298, June.
  4. van Exel, N.J.A. & Brouwer, W.B.F. & van den Berg, B. & Koopmanschap, M.A., 2006. "With a little help from an anchor: Discussion and evidence of anchoring effects in contingent valuation," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 836-853, October.
  5. Kling, Catherine L. & List, John & Zhao, Jinhua, 2011. "A Dynamic Explanation of the Willingness to Pay and Willingness to Accept Disparity," Staff General Research Papers 33895, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  6. Carson, Richard T. & Hanemann, W. Michael, 2006. "Contingent Valuation," Handbook of Environmental Economics, in: K. G. Mäler & J. R. Vincent (ed.), Handbook of Environmental Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 17, pages 821-936 Elsevier.
  7. Wiktor L. Adamowicz, 2004. "What's it worth? An examination of historical trends and future directions in environmental valuation," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 48(3), pages 419-443, 09.
  8. Jay R. Corrigan, 2005. "Is the Experimental Auction a Dynamic Market?," Working Papers 0501, Kenyon College, Department of Economics.
  9. John A. List & Michael K. Price, 2013. "Using Field Experiments in Environmental and Resource Economics," NBER Working Papers 19289, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Baylis, Katherine R. & Vercammen, James, 2006. "Scientific Uncertainty and Climate Change Policy," 2006 Annual meeting, July 23-26, Long Beach, CA 21267, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  11. Richard Carson & Theodore Groves, 2007. "Incentive and informational properties of preference questions," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 37(1), pages 181-210, May.
  12. Jay R. Corrigan & Catharine L. Kling & Jinhua Zhao, 2006. "The Dynamic Formation of Willingness to Pay: An Empirical Specification and Test," Working Papers 0603, Kenyon College, Department of Economics.
  13. Zhao, Jinhua & Kling, Catherine L., 2006. "Environmental Valuation Under Dynamic Consumer Behavior," Staff General Research Papers 2106, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  14. Laurent Muller & Bernard Ruffieux, 2011. "Do price-tags influence consumers’ willingness to pay? On the external validity of using auctions for measuring value," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 181-202, May.
  15. Nababan, Tongam Sihol & Simanjuntak, Juara, 2008. "Aplikasi Willingness To Pay Sebagai Proksi Terhadap Variabel Harga: Suatu Model Empirik Dalam Estimasi Permintaan Energi Listrik Rumah Tangga
    [The Application of Willingness To Pay As A Proxy To Va
    ," MPRA Paper 49155, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  16. Krüger, Niclas A. & Svensson, Mikael, 2009. "The impact of real options on willingness to pay for mortality risk reductions," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 563-569, May.
  17. Jinhua Zhao & Catherine L. Kling, 2002. "Environmental Valuation under Dynamic," Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications 02-wp292, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.

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