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Referendum Contingent Valuation, Anchoring, and Willingness to Pay for Public Goods

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  • Donald Green
  • Karen Jacowitz
  • Daniel Kahneman
  • Daniel McFadden

    ()

Abstract

This study reports on experiments that examine anchoring in single referendum questions in contingent valuation surveys on willingness to pay for public goods, and on objective estimation. Strong anchoring effects are found that lead to systematically higher estimated mean responses from Yes/No referendum responses than from open-ended responses. This response pattern is similar for contingent valuation questions and for objective estimation questions. The paper concludes that psychometric anchoring effects, rather than incentive effects, are the likely cause of results commonly found in contingent valuation studies, and that the currently popular single referendum elicitation format is highly vulnerable to anchoring.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of California at Berkeley, Econometrics Laboratory Software Archive in its series Working Papers with number _010.

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Date of creation: Nov 1995
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Handle: RePEc:wop:calbem:_010

Note: This paper was presented by Daniel McFadden at the World Congress of the Econometric Society, August 1995. The manuscript is in compressed postscript format, viewable in browsers that can spawn an external viewer like ghostscript.Figures 1 - 15. Please note that if you view the figures, you will need to have the viewer rotate them 90 degrees, from a portrait to landscape orientation.
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  1. Silverman, Jonathan & Klock, Mark, 1989. "The behavior of respondents in contingent valuation: Evidence on starting bids," Journal of Behavioral Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 51-60.
  2. McConnell, K. E., 1990. "Models for referendum data: The structure of discrete choice models for contingent valuation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 19-34, January.
  3. Milon, J. Walter, 1989. "Contingent valuation experiments for strategic behavior," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 293-308, November.
  4. 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.
  5. William D. Schulze & Ralph C. d'Arge & David S. Brookshire, 1981. "Valuing Environmental Commodities: Some Recent Experiments," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 57(2), pages 151-172.
  6. Diamond, P. A. & McFadden, D. L., 1974. "Some uses of the expenditure function in public finance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 3-21, February.
  7. Bradford, David F, 1970. "Benefit-Cost Analysis and Demand Curves for Public Goods," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(4), pages 775-91.
  8. Northcraft, Gregory B. & Neale, Margaret A., 1987. "Experts, amateurs, and real estate: An anchoring-and-adjustment perspective on property pricing decisions," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 84-97, February.
  9. 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.
  10. Robin Gregory & Lita Furby, 1987. "Auctions, experiments and contingent valuation," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 55(3), pages 273-289, October.
  11. John W. Duffield & David A. Patterson, 1991. "Inference and Optimal Design for a Welfare Measure in Dichotomous Choice Contingent Valuation," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 67(2), pages 225-239.
  12. Randall, Alan & Ives, Berry & Eastman, Clyde, 1974. "Bidding games for valuation of aesthetic environmental improvements," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 132-149, August.
  13. Palfrey, T.R. & Rosenthal, H., 1990. "Testing Game-Theoretic Models Of Free Riding: New Evidence Od Probability Bias And Learning," Working papers 549, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  14. Hoehn, John P. & Randall, Alan, 1987. "A satisfactory benefit cost indicator from contingent valuation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 226-247, September.
  15. Kevin J. Boyle & Richard C. Bishop & Michael P. Welsh, 1985. "Starting Point Bias in Contingent Valuation Bidding Games," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 62(2), pages 188-194.
  16. Richard H. Thaler & Eric J. Johnson, 1990. "Gambling with the House Money and Trying to Break Even: The Effects of Prior Outcomes on Risky Choice," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 36(6), pages 643-660, June.
  17. Smith, Vernon L, 1979. " An Experimental Comparison of Three Public Good Decision Mechanisms," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 81(2), pages 198-215.
  18. 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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