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Preference Elicitation under Oath

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Abstract

Eliciting sincere preferences for non-market goods remains a challenge due to hypothetical bias - the so-called gap between hypothetical monetary values and real economic commitments. The gap arises because people either overstate hypothetical values or understate real commitments or a combination of both. Herein we examine whether the traditional real-world institution of the solenn oath can improve preference elicitation. Applying the social psychology theory on the oath as a truth-telling-commitment device, we ask our bidders to swear on their honour to give honest answers prior to participating in an incentive-compatible second-price auction. Results from our induced valuation testbed treatments suggest the oath-only auctions outperform all other auctions (real, hypothetical, and real-with-oath). In our homegrown valuation treatments eliciting preferences for dolphin protection, the oath-only design induced people to treat as binding both their budget constraint (i.e., lower values on the high end of the value distribution) and participation constraint (i.e., positive values rather than zero bids used to opt out of auction). Our oath-only results are robust to extra training on the auction and to consequential wording about the reason for the oath.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne in its series Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne with number 09043.

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Length: 54 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mse:cesdoc:09043

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Keywords: Oath; commitment; Vickrey auction; hypothetical bias; induced values; homegrown values.;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Stachtiaris, Spiros & Drichoutis, Andreas & Nayga, Rodolfo & Klonaris, Stathis, 2011. "Can religious priming induce truthful preference revelation?," MPRA Paper 34433, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Loomis, John B., 2014. "2013WAEA Keynote Address: Strategies for Overcoming Hypothetical Bias in Stated Preference Surveys," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 39(1), April.
  3. Drichoutis, Andreas & Lusk, Jayson & Nayga, Rodolfo, 2013. "The veil of experimental currency units," MPRA Paper 46906, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Jacquemet, Nicolas & Joule, Robert-Vincent & Luchini, Stéphane & Shogren, Jason F., 2009. "Earned wealth, engaged bidders? Evidence from a second-price auction," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 105(1), pages 36-38, October.
  5. Kataria, Mitesh & Winter, Fabian, 2013. "Third party assessments in trust problems with conflict of interest: An experiment on the effects of promises," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 120(1), pages 53-56.
  6. Bosworth Ryan & Taylor Laura O., 2012. "Hypothetical Bias in Choice Experiments: Is Cheap Talk Effective at Eliminating Bias on the Intensive and Extensive Margins of Choice?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-28, December.
  7. Catherine L. Kling & Daniel J. Phaneuf & Jinhua Zhao, 2012. "From Exxon to BP: Has Some Number Become Better Than No Number?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(4), pages 3-26, Fall.
  8. 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.
  9. de Magistris, Tiziana & Pascucci, Stefano, 2012. "Consumers´ preferences for the millennium bugs. Does “solemn oath” mitigate the hypothetical bias in choice experiment?," 2012 Annual Meeting, August 12-14, 2012, Seattle, Washington 124834, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  10. Banerjee, Prasenjit & Shogren, Jason F., 2014. "Bidding behavior given point and interval values in a second-price auction," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 126-137.
  11. Alec Smith & B. Douglas Bernheim & Colin Camerer & Antonio Rangel, 2013. "Neural Activity Reveals Preferences Without Choices," NBER Working Papers 19270, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. B. Douglas Bernheim & Daniel Bjorkegren & Jeffrey Naecker & Antonio Rangel, 2013. "Do Hypothetical Choices and Non-Choice Ratings Reveal Preferences?," NBER Working Papers 19269, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Shogren, Jason F., 2012. "WAEA Keynote Address Behavioral Environmental Economics: Money Pumps & Nudges," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 37(3), December.

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