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Referendum Design and Contingent Valuation: TheNOAA Panel's No-Vote Recommendation

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  • Richard T. Carson
  • W. Michael Hanemann
  • Raymond J. Kopp
  • Jon A. Krosnick
  • Robert C. Mitchell
  • Stanley Presser
  • Paul A. Ruud
  • Smith, V. Kerry

Abstract

In 1992 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) convened a panel of prominent social scientists to assess the reliability of natural resource damage estimates derived from contingent valuation (CV). The product of the Panel's deliberations was a report that laid out a set of recommended guidelines for CV survey design, administration, and data analysis. One of the Panel's recommendations was that CV surveys should employ a referendum approach. This method describes a choice mechanism that asks each respondent how they would vote if faced with a particular program and the prospect of paying for the program through some means, such as higher taxes. The Panel also recommended that CV referendum questions which commonly use only "for" or "against" answers should be expanded to explicitly offer an "I would-not-vote" response. The purpose of this paper is to consider the effects of such a "would-not-vote" option. In developing the test, we followed the important elements of the NOAA Panel guidelines for the design and administration of a CV survey and use what was acknowledged(by the Panel) as the most carefully developed CV questionnaire to that time, that is, the State of Alaska's study of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Our findings suggest that when those selecting the "would-not-vote" response are treated as having voted "against" the offered program, offering the option does not alter: (a) the distribution of "for" and "against" responses, (b) the estimates of WTP derived from these choices, or (c) the construct validity of the results.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Duke University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 95-17.

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Date of creation: 1995
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Handle: RePEc:duk:dukeec:95-17

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Postal: Department of Economics Duke University 213 Social Sciences Building Box 90097 Durham, NC 27708-0097
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Web page: http://econ.duke.edu/

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  1. 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.
  2. Bergstrom, Theodore C & Rubinfeld, Daniel L & Shapiro, Perry, 1982. "Micro-Based Estimates of Demand Functions for Local School Expenditures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1183-1205, September.
  3. Carson, Richard T. & Hanemann, W. Michael & Kopp, Raymond J. & Krosnick, Jon A. & Mitchell, Robert C. & Presser, Stanley & Ruud, Paul A. & Smith, V. Kerry, 1995. "Temporal Reliability of Estimates from Contingent Valuation," Working Papers 95-05, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  4. Paul R. Portney, 1994. "The Contingent Valuation Debate: Why Economists Should Care," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 3-17, Fall.
  5. Carson, R.T. & Mitchell, R.C. & Hanemann, W.M. & Kopp, R.J. & Presser, S. & Ruud, P.A., 1992. "A Contingent Valuation Study of Lost Passive Use Values Resulting From the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill," MPRA Paper 6984, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Peter A. Diamond & Jerry A. Hausman, 1994. "Contingent Valuation: Is Some Number Better than No Number?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 45-64, Fall.
  7. W. Michael Hanemann, 1994. "Valuing the Environment through Contingent Valuation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 19-43, Fall.
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