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A comparison of prospect theory in WTP and preference space

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  • John M. Rose

    ()
    (Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies (ITLS), The University of Sydney, Australia)

  • Lorenzo Masiero

    ()
    (Istituto Ricerche Economiche (IRE), Università della Svizzera Italiana, Svizzera)

Abstract

The importance of willingness to pay (WTP) and willingness to accept (WTA) measures in the evaluation of policy measures has led to a constant stream of research examining survey methods and model specifications seeking to capture and explain the concept of marginal rates of substitution as much as possible. Stated choice experiments pivoted around a reference alternative allow the specification of discrete choice models to accommodate the prospect theory reference dependence assumption. This permits an investigation of theories related to loss aversion and diminishing sensitivity, and to test the discrepancy between WTP and WTA, widely documented within the literature. With more advanced classes of discrete choice models at our disposal, it is now possible to test different preference specifications that are better able to measure WTP and WTA values. One such model allowing for utility to be directly specified in WTP space has recently shown interesting qualities. This paper compares and contrasts models estimated in preference space to those estimated in WTP space allowing for asymmetry in the marginal utilities by estimating different parameters according to reference, gain and loss values. The results suggest a better model fit for the data estimated in WTP space, contradicting the findings of previous researches. The parameter estimates report significant evidence of loss aversion and diminishing sensitivities even though the symmetric specification outperforms the asymmetric ones. Finally, the analysis of the WTP and WTA measures confirms the higher degree of WTA compared to WTP, and highlights the appeal of the WTP space specification in terms of plausibility of the estimated measures.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by USI Università della Svizzera italiana in its series Quaderni della facoltà di Scienze economiche dell'Università di Lugano with number 1006.

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Length: 16 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:lug:wpaper:1006

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Web page: https://www.bul.sbu.usi.ch

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Keywords: choice experiments; willingness to pay space; preference asymmetry;

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References

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  1. Rose, John M. & Bliemer, Michiel C.J. & Hensher, David A. & Collins, Andrew T., 2008. "Designing efficient stated choice experiments in the presence of reference alternatives," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 395-406, May.
  2. Train, K. & Weeks, M., 2004. "Discrete Choice Models in Preference Space and Willingness-to Pay Space," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0443, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  3. Rowe, Robert D. & D'Arge, Ralph C. & Brookshire, David S., 1980. "An experiment on the economic value of visibility," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 1-19, March.
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  6. Riccardo Scarpa & Mara Thiene & Kenneth Train, 2008. "Utility in Willingness to Pay Space: A Tool to Address Confounding Random Scale Effects in Destination Choice to the Alps," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 90(4), pages 994-1010.
  7. Horowitz, John K. & McConnell, Kenneth E., 2002. "A Review of WTA/WTP Studies," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 426-447, November.
  8. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
  9. Cameron, Trudy Ann & James, Michelle D, 1987. "Efficient Estimation Methods for "Closed-ended' Contingent Valuation Surveys," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(2), pages 269-76, May.
  10. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1991. "Loss Aversion in Riskless Choice: A Reference-Dependent Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1039-61, November.
  11. Scarpa, R. & Thiene, M. & Train, K., 2008. "Appendix to Utility in WTP space: a tool to address confounding random scale effects in destination choice to the Alps," American Journal of Agricultural Economics Appendices, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 90(4), November.
  12. Masiero, Lorenzo & Hensher, David A., 2010. "Analyzing loss aversion and diminishing sensitivity in a freight transport stated choice experiment," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 44(5), pages 349-358, June.
  13. David Hensher & Nina Shore & Kenneth Train, 2005. "Households’ Willingness to Pay for Water Service Attributes," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 32(4), pages 509-531, December.
  14. Denzil G. Fiebig & Michael P. Keane & Jordan Louviere & Nada Wasi, 2010. "The Generalized Multinomial Logit Model: Accounting for Scale and Coefficient Heterogeneity," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 29(3), pages 393-421, 05-06.
  15. David Revelt & Kenneth Train, 1998. "Mixed Logit With Repeated Choices: Households' Choices Of Appliance Efficiency Level," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(4), pages 647-657, November.
  16. Hess, Stephane & Rose, John M. & Hensher, David A., 2008. "Asymmetric preference formation in willingness to pay estimates in discrete choice models," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(5), pages 847-863, September.
  17. David A. Hensher, 2008. "Joint Estimation of Process and Outcome in Choice Experiments and Implications for Willingness to Pay," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, London School of Economics and University of Bath, vol. 42(2), pages 297-322, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Lorenzo Masiero & David A. Hensher, 2010. "Shift of reference point and implications on behavioral reaction to gains and losses," Quaderni della facoltà di Scienze economiche dell'Università di Lugano 1005, USI Università della Svizzera italiana.

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