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Deleting 'irrational' responses from discrete choice experiments: a case of investigating or imposing preferences?

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  • Emily Lancsar

    (Business School (Economics) and Centre for Health Services Research, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK)

  • Jordan Louviere

    (Centre for the Study of Choice, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia)

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    Abstract

    Investigation of the 'rationality' of responses to discrete choice experiments (DCEs) has been a theme of research in health economics. Responses have been deleted from DCEs where they have been deemed by researchers to (a) be 'irrational', defined by such studies as failing tests for non-satiation, or (b) represent lexicographic preferences. This paper outlines a number of reasons why deleting responses from DCEs may be inappropriate after first reviewing the theory underpinning rationality, highlighting that the importance placed on rationality depends on the approach to consumer theory to which one ascribes. The aim of this paper is not to suggest that all preferences elicited via DCEs are rational. Instead, it is to suggest a number of reasons why it may not be the case that all preferences labelled as 'irrational' are indeed so. Hence, deleting responses may result in the removal of valid preferences; induce sample selection bias; and reduce the statistical efficiency and power of the estimated choice models. Further, evidence suggests random utility theory may be able to cope with such preferences. Finally, we discuss a number of implications for the design, implementation and interpretation of DCEs and recommend caution regarding the deletion of preferences from stated preference experiments. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/hec.1104
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Health Economics.

    Volume (Year): 15 (2006)
    Issue (Month): 8 ()
    Pages: 797-811

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    Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:15:y:2006:i:8:p:797-811

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    Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/jhome/5749

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    Cited by:
    1. Semra Özdemir & Ateesha F. Mohamed & F. Reed Johnson & A. Brett Hauber, 2010. "Who pays attention in stated-choice surveys?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(1), pages 111-118.
    2. Yoo, James & Ready, Richard C., 2014. "Preference heterogeneity for renewable energy technology," Energy Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 101-114.
    3. Schipmann, Christin & Qaim, Matin, 2011. "Supply chain differentiation, contract agriculture, and farmers’ marketing preferences: the case of sweet pepper in Thailand," Discussion Papers, Georg-August-Universitaet Goettingen, GlobalFood, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development 108349, Georg-August-Universitaet Goettingen, GlobalFood, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development.
    4. Foster, Michele M. & Earl, Peter E. & Haines, Terry P. & Mitchell, Geoffrey K., 2010. "Unravelling the concept of consumer preference: Implications for health policy and optimal planning in primary care," Health Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 97(2-3), pages 105-112, October.
    5. Colin Green & Karen Gerard, 2009. "Exploring the social value of health-care interventions: a stated preference discrete choice experiment," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(8), pages 951-976.
    6. Mandy Ryan & Verity Watson & Vikki Entwistle, 2009. "Rationalising the 'irrational': a think aloud study of discrete choice experiment responses," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(3), pages 321-336.
    7. Christie, Michael & Colombo, Sergio & Hanley, Nicholas, 2011. "What are the consequences of ignoring attributes in choice experiments? An application to ecosystem service values," Stirling Economics Discussion Papers, University of Stirling, Division of Economics 2011-20, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.
    8. Jens Hougaard & Tue Tjur & Lars Østerdal, 2012. "On the meaningfulness of testing preference axioms in stated preference discrete choice experiments," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 409-417, August.
    9. Börjesson, Maria & Fosgerau, Mogens & Algers, Staffan, 2012. "Catching the tail: Empirical identification of the distribution of the value of travel time," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 378-391.
    10. Kosenius, Anna-Kaisa, 2013. "Preference discontinuity in choice experiment: Determinants and implications," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 138-145.
    11. Bansback, Nick & Brazier, John & Tsuchiya, Aki & Anis, Aslam, 2012. "Using a discrete choice experiment to estimate health state utility values," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 306-318.
    12. Colombo, Sergio & Christie, Michael & Hanley, Nick, 2013. "What are the consequences of ignoring attributes in choice experiments? Implications for ecosystem service valuation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 25-35.
    13. Joachim Marti, 2012. "Assessing preferences for improved smoking cessation medications: a discrete choice experiment," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 13(5), pages 533-548, October.
    14. Mohammed Alemu & Morten Mørkbak & Søren Olsen & Carsten Jensen, 2013. "Attending to the Reasons for Attribute Non-attendance in Choice Experiments," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 54(3), pages 333-359, March.
    15. Glenk, Klaus & Hall, Clare & Liebe, Ulf & Meyerhoff, Jürgen, 2012. "Preferences of Scotch malt whisky consumers for changes in pesticide use and origin of barley," Food Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 719-731.
    16. Rulleau, Bénédicte & Dachary-Bernard, Jeanne, 2012. "Preferences, rational choices and economic valuation: Some empirical tests," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 198-206.

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