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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. 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.
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  8. Matthias Benz & Stephan Meier, 2008. "Do people behave in experiments as in the field?—evidence from donations," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 268-281, September.
  9. 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.
  10. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:3:y:2004:i:6:p:1-13 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. 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.
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  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. 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.
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  20. 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.
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