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An investigation of individual preferences: consistency across incentives and stability over time

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  • Emmanouil Mentzakis
  • Jingjing Zhang

Abstract

This study compares individual preferences across incentives (i.e., hypothetical vs. real incentives) and over time (i.e. elicitation at two different points in time) in a choice experiment involving charitable donating decisions. We provide evidence of hypothetical bias but little evidence of instability of individual giving. There is significant heterogeneity in individual preferences, with real incentives either dampening or pronouncing the observed donating behaviour. Neither hypothetical bias nor instability is observed when we examine the propensity of individuals to make internally consistent decisions over identical choices.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics - University of Zurich in its series ECON - Working Papers with number 070.

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Date of creation: Apr 2012
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Handle: RePEc:zur:econwp:070

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Keywords: Individual preference; hypothetical bias; time inconsistency; discrete choice experiments; charitable donations;

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  1. John List, 2001. "Do explicit warnings eliminate the hypothetical bias in elicitation procedures? Evidence from field auctions for sportscards," Framed Field Experiments 00163, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. Matthias Benz & Stephan Meier, 2006. "Do people behave in experiments as in the field?: evidence from donations," Working Papers 06-8, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  3. Andreoni,J. & Vesterlund,L., 1998. "Which is the fair sex? : Gender differences in altruism," Working papers 10, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  4. John List & Craig Gallet, 2001. "What Experimental Protocol Influence Disparities Between Actual and Hypothetical Stated Values?," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 20(3), pages 241-254, November.
  5. Carlsson, Fredrik & Martinsson, Peter, 2001. "Do Hypothetical and Actual Marginal Willingness to Pay Differ in Choice Experiments?: Application to the Valuation of the Environment," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 179-192, March.
  6. San Miguel, Fernando & Ryan, Mandy & Scott, Anthony, 2002. "Are preferences stable? The case of health care," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 1-14, May.
  7. Karen Blumenschein & GlennC. Blomquist & Magnus Johannesson & Nancy Horn & Patricia Freeman, 2008. "Eliciting Willingness to Pay Without Bias: Evidence from a Field Experiment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(525), pages 114-137, 01.
  8. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  9. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:3:y:2004:i:6:p:1-13 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Cameron, Trudy Ann & Poe, Gregory L. & Ethier, Robert G. & Schulze, William D., 2002. "Alternative Non-market Value-Elicitation Methods: Are the Underlying Preferences the Same?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 391-425, November.
  11. John List & Paramita Sinha & Michael Taylor, 2006. "Using choice experiments to value non-market goods and services: Evidence from field experiments," Natural Field Experiments 00278, The Field Experiments Website.
  12. Stigler, George J & Becker, Gary S, 1977. "De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(2), pages 76-90, March.
  13. Cummings, Ronald G & Harrison, Glenn W & Rutstrom, E Elisabet, 1995. "Homegrown Values and Hypothetical Surveys: Is the Dichotomous Choice Approach Incentive-Compatible?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 260-66, March.
  14. Jayson L. Lusk & Ted C. Schroeder, 2004. "Are Choice Experiments Incentive Compatible? A Test with Quality Differentiated Beef Steaks," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 86(2), pages 467-482.
  15. Laura Taylor & Mark Morrison & Kevin Boyle, 2010. "Exchange Rules and the Incentive Compatibility of Choice Experiments," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 47(2), pages 197-220, October.
  16. Richard C. Ready & Patricia A. Champ & Jennifer L. Lawton, 2010. "Using Respondent Uncertainty to Mitigate Hypothetical Bias in a Stated Choice Experiment," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 86(2), pages 363-381.
  17. Hanley, Nick & Adamowicz, Wiktor & Wright, Robert E., 2005. "Price vector effects in choice experiments: an empirical test," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 227-234, October.
  18. James Murphy & P. Allen & Thomas Stevens & Darryl Weatherhead, 2005. "A Meta-analysis of Hypothetical Bias in Stated Preference Valuation," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 30(3), pages 313-325, 03.
  19. Kelvin J. Lancaster, 1966. "A New Approach to Consumer Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 74, pages 132.
  20. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-58, December.
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