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A comparison of responses to single and repeated discrete choice questions

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  • McNair, Ben J.
  • Bennett, Jeff
  • Hensher, David A.

Abstract

According to neoclassical economic theory, a stated preference elicitation format comprising a single binary choice between the status quo and one alternative is incentive compatible under certain conditions. Formats typically used in choice experiments comprising a sequence of discrete choice questions do not hold this property. In this paper, the effect on stated preferences of expanding the number of binary choice tasks per respondent from one to four is tested using a split sample treatment in an attribute-based survey relating to the undergrounding of overhead electricity and telecommunications wires. We find evidence to suggest that presenting multiple choice tasks per respondent decreases estimates of expected willingness to pay. Preferences stated in the first of a sequence of choice tasks are not significantly different from those stated in the incentive compatible single binary choice task, but, in subsequent choice tasks, responses are influenced by cost levels observed in past questions. Three behavioural explanations can be advanced – weak strategic misrepresentation, reference point revision and cost-driven value learning. The evidence is contrary to the standard assumption of truthful response with stable preferences.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 23163.

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Date of creation: May 2010
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:23163

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Keywords: Choice experiment; willingness-to-pay; incentive compatibility; order effects; undergrounding;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. McNair, Ben J. & Heshner, David A. & Bennett, Jeffrey W., 2011. "Modelling heterogeneity in response behaviour towards a sequence of discrete choice questions: a probabilistic decision process model," 2011 Conference (55th), February 8-11, 2011, Melbourne, Australia 100585, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
  2. Leong, Waiyan & Hensher, David A., 2012. "Embedding multiple heuristics into choice models: An exploratory analysis," Journal of choice modelling, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 131-144.
  3. McNair, Ben J. & Hensher, David A. & Bennett, Jeff, 2010. "Modelling heterogeneity in response behaviour towards a sequence of discrete choice questions: a latent class approach," MPRA Paper 23427, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. McNair, Ben J. & Bennett, Jeff & Hensher, David A., 2010. "Households’ Willingness to Pay for Undergrounding Electricity and Telecommunications Wires," MPRA Paper 23164, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Kragt, Marit Ellen, 2013. "Comparing models of unobserved heterogeneity in environmental choice experiments," Working Papers 144447, University of Western Australia, School of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
  6. Gabriela Scheufele & Jeff Bennett, 2012. "Response Strategies and Learning in Discrete Choice Experiments," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 52(3), pages 435-453, July.

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