IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/bpj/bejeap/v12y2012i1p1-28n56.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Hypothetical Bias in Choice Experiments: Is Cheap Talk Effective at Eliminating Bias on the Intensive and Extensive Margins of Choice?

Author

Listed:
  • Bosworth Ryan

    () (Utah State University)

  • Taylor Laura O.

    () (North Carolina State University)

Abstract

We use an experimental approach to evaluate the effectiveness of the most commonly employed bias-mitigation tool in nonmarket valuation surveys: the cheap talk script. Our experimental design allows us to estimate treatment effects on two margins of choice separately: the decision to enter the market at all (the extensive margin) and the choices among alternatives offered (the intensive margin). The key result of this study is to show that a cheap talk script appears to affect both margins in ways distinctly different than when choices involve actual payments. Specifically, participants in hypothetical choice experiments including cheap talk are more inclined to enter the market but are also more price-sensitive as compared to when payments are real. Interestingly, the average influence of cheap talk on market participation and price-sensitiveness could result in total willingness to pay (WTP) estimates that are similar to real payment treatments since the two effects identified act in opposite directions when computing WTP. However, they may do so by inducing behavior that is distinctly different than those of consumers facing real choices. Our results highlight that future reliance on cheap talk as a bias mitigation tool requires extensive testing for empirical regularities to gain any confidence that the tool can be effective, and under what circumstances.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:12:y:2012:i:1:p:1-28:n:56
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/bejeap.2012.12.issue-1/1935-1682.3278/1935-1682.3278.xml?format=INT
    Download Restriction: For access to full text, subscription to the journal or payment for the individual article is required.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Louviere,Jordan J. & Hensher,David A. & Swait,Joffre D. With contributions by-Name:Adamowicz,Wiktor, 2000. "Stated Choice Methods," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521788304, June.
    2. Craig E. Landry & John A. List, 2007. "Using Ex Ante Approaches to Obtain Credible Signals for Value in Contingent Markets: Evidence from the Field," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 89(2), pages 420-429.
    3. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1009-1055, December.
    4. James Murphy & Thomas Stevens & Darryl Weatherhead, 2005. "Is Cheap Talk Effective at Eliminating Hypothetical Bias in a Provision Point Mechanism?," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 30(3), pages 327-343, March.
    5. Richard Carson & Nicholas Flores & Norman Meade, 2001. "Contingent Valuation: Controversies and Evidence," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 19(2), pages 173-210, June.
    6. Jacquemet, Nicolas & Joule, Robert-Vincent & Luchini, Stéphane & Shogren, Jason F., 2013. "Preference elicitation under oath," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 110-132.
    7. List John A. & Sinha Paramita & Taylor Michael H., 2006. "Using Choice Experiments to Value Non-Market Goods and Services: Evidence from Field Experiments," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(2), pages 1-39, January.
    8. Nicolas Jacquemet & Alexander James & Stéphane Luchini & Jason Shogren, 2011. "Social Psychology and Environmental Economics: A New Look at ex ante Corrections of Biased Preference Evaluation," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 48(3), pages 413-433, March.
    9. Laura Taylor & Mark Morrison & Kevin Boyle, 2010. "Exchange Rules and the Incentive Compatibility of Choice Experiments," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 47(2), pages 197-220, October.
    10. Aadland, David & Caplan, Arthur J., 2006. "Cheap talk reconsidered: New evidence from CVM," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 60(4), pages 562-578, August.
    11. Train,Kenneth E., 2009. "Discrete Choice Methods with Simulation," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521766555, December.
    12. Brown, Thomas C. & Ajzen, Icek & Hrubes, Daniel, 2003. "Further tests of entreaties to avoid hypothetical bias in referendum contingent valuation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 353-361, September.
    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 260-266, March.
    14. Barrage, Lint & Lee, Min Sok, 2010. "A penny for your thoughts: Inducing truth-telling in stated preference elicitation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 106(2), pages 140-142, February.
    15. Laura O. Taylor & Ronald G. Cummings, 1999. "Unbiased Value Estimates for Environmental Goods: A Cheap Talk Design for the Contingent Valuation Method," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 649-665, June.
    16. Mark Morrison & Thomas Brown, 2009. "Testing the Effectiveness of Certainty Scales, Cheap Talk, and Dissonance-Minimization in Reducing Hypothetical Bias in Contingent Valuation Studies," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 44(3), pages 307-326, November.
    17. John List & Craig Gallet, 2001. "What Experimental Protocol Influence Disparities Between Actual and Hypothetical Stated Values?," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 20(3), pages 241-254, November.
    18. repec:feb:framed:0073 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Richard Carson & Jordan Louviere, 2011. "A Common Nomenclature for Stated Preference Elicitation Approaches," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 49(4), pages 539-559, August.
    20. 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.
    21. Pallab Mozumder & Robert P. Berrens, 2007. "Investigating hypothetical bias: induced-value tests of the referendum voting mechanism with uncertainty," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(10), pages 705-709.
    22. John A. List, 2001. "Do Explicit Warnings Eliminate the Hypothetical Bias in Elicitation Procedures? Evidence from Field Auctions for Sportscards," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1498-1507, December.
    23. 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, January.
    24. David Bjornstad & Ronald Cummings & Laura Osborne, 1997. "A Learning Design for Reducing Hypothetical Bias in the Contingent Valuation Method," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 10(3), pages 207-221, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Ladenburg, Jacob & Hevia-Koch, Pablo & Petrović, Stefan & Knapp, Lauren, 2020. "The offshore-onshore conundrum: Preferences for wind energy considering spatial data in Denmark," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 121(C).
    2. Ladenburg, Jacob & Olsen, Søren Bøye, 2014. "Augmenting short Cheap Talk scripts with a repeated Opt-Out Reminder in Choice Experiment surveys," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 39-63.
    3. Matthew Quaife & Fern Terris-Prestholt & Gian Luca Di Tanna & Peter Vickerman, 2018. "How well do discrete choice experiments predict health choices? A systematic review and meta-analysis of external validity," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 19(8), pages 1053-1066, November.
    4. Wuepper, David & Clemm, Alexandra & Wree, Philipp, 2019. "The preference for sustainable coffee and a new approach for dealing with hypothetical bias," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 475-486.
    5. Mohammed H. Alemu & Søren B. Olsen, 2017. "Can a Repeated Opt-Out Reminder remove hypothetical bias in discrete choice experiments? An application to consumer valuation of novel food products," IFRO Working Paper 2017/05, University of Copenhagen, Department of Food and Resource Economics.
    6. Haghani, Milad & Sarvi, Majid, 2019. "Laboratory experimentation and simulation of discrete direction choices: Investigating hypothetical bias, decision-rule effect and external validity based on aggregate prediction measures," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 134-157.
    7. Kallas, Zein & Gil, José María, 2015. "Do the Spanish want biodiesel? A case study in the Catalan transport sector," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 398-406.
    8. Amilon, Anna & Ladenburg, Jacob & Siren, Anu & Vernstrøm Østergaard, Stine, 2020. "Willingness to pay for long-term home care services: Evidence from a stated preferences analysis," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 17(C).
    9. Haghani, Milad & Sarvi, Majid, 2018. "Hypothetical bias and decision-rule effect in modelling discrete directional choices," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 361-388.
    10. Sergio Colombo & Wiktor Budziński & Mikołaj Czajkowski & Klaus Glenk, 2020. "Hypothetical bias remains at the heart of controversy about the reliability and validity of value estimates from discrete choice experiments (DCEs). This especially applies to environmental valuation,," Working Papers 2020-20, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.
    11. Britwum, Kofi & Yiannaka, Amalia, 2016. "Consumer Willingness to Pay for Food Safety Interventions: The Role of Message Framing and Involvement," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, Boston, Massachusetts 235884, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    12. Lauren Knapp & Jacob Ladenburg, 2015. "How Spatial Relationships Influence Economic Preferences for Wind Power—A Review," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(6), pages 1-25, June.
    13. Penn, Jerrod & Hu, Wuyang, 2019. "Cheap talk efficacy under potential and actual Hypothetical Bias: A meta-analysis," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 22-35.
    14. Pierre-Alexandre Mahieu & Romain Crastes & Jordan Louviere & Ewa Zawojska, 2016. "Rewarding truthful-telling in stated preference studies," Working Papers 2016-33, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.
    15. Kountouris, Yiannis & Nakic, Zoran & Sauer, Johannes, 2015. "Political instability and non-market valuation: Evidence from Croatia," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 19-39.
    16. Britwum, Kofi & Yiannaka, Amalia, 2019. "Consumer willingness to pay for food safety interventions: The role of message framing and issue involvement," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 1-1.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Ladenburg, Jacob & Olsen, Søren Bøye, 2014. "Augmenting short Cheap Talk scripts with a repeated Opt-Out Reminder in Choice Experiment surveys," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 39-63.
    2. Fifer, Simon & Rose, John M., 2016. "Can you ever be certain? Reducing hypothetical bias in stated choice experiments via respondent reported choice certaintyAuthor-Name: Beck, Matthew J," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 149-167.
    3. Dominique Ami & Frédéric Aprahamian & Olivier Chanel & Stéphane Luchini, 2011. "A Test of Cheap Talk in Different Hypothetical Contexts: The Case of Air Pollution," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 50(1), pages 111-130, September.
    4. Mohammed H. Alemu & Søren B. Olsen, 2017. "Can a Repeated Opt-Out Reminder remove hypothetical bias in discrete choice experiments? An application to consumer valuation of novel food products," IFRO Working Paper 2017/05, University of Copenhagen, Department of Food and Resource Economics.
    5. 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.
    6. Nicolas Jacquemet & Alexander James & Stéphane Luchini & Jason Shogren, 2011. "Social Psychology and Environmental Economics: A New Look at ex ante Corrections of Biased Preference Evaluation," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 48(3), pages 413-433, March.
    7. Hensher, David A., 2010. "Hypothetical bias, choice experiments and willingness to pay," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 44(6), pages 735-752, July.
    8. Penn, Jerrod & Hu, Wuyang, 2016. "Making the Most of Cheap Talk in an Online Survey," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, Boston, Massachusetts 236171, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    9. John K. Horowitz & Kenneth E. McConnell & James J. Murphy, 2013. "Behavioral foundations of environmental economics and valuation," Chapters, in: John A. List & Michael K. Price (ed.), Handbook on Experimental Economics and the Environment, chapter 4, pages 115-156, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    10. Penn, Jerrod & Hu, Wuyang, 2019. "Cheap talk efficacy under potential and actual Hypothetical Bias: A meta-analysis," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 22-35.
    11. Varela, Elsa & Mahieu, Pierre-Alexandre & Giergiczny, Marek & Riera, Pere & Soliño, Mario, 2014. "Testing the single opt-out reminder in choice experiments: An application to fuel break management in Spain," Journal of Forest Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 212-222.
    12. Reinhard Uehleke & Bodo Sturm, 2017. "The Influence of Collective Action on the Demand for Voluntary Climate Change Mitigation in Hypothetical and Real Situations," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 67(3), pages 429-454, July.
    13. Fifer, Simon & Rose, John & Greaves, Stephen, 2014. "Hypothetical bias in Stated Choice Experiments: Is it a problem? And if so, how do we deal with it?," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 164-177.
    14. Mark A. Andor & Manuel Frondel & Colin Vance, 2017. "Mitigating Hypothetical Bias: Evidence on the Effects of Correctives from a Large Field Study," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 68(3), pages 777-796, November.
    15. Svensson, Mikael, 2006. "The Value of a Statistical Life in Sweden Estimates from Two Studies using the "Certainty Approach" Calibration," Working Papers 2006:6, Örebro University, School of Business, revised 12 May 2009.
    16. Jacquemet, Nicolas & Joule, Robert-Vincent & Luchini, Stéphane & Shogren, Jason F., 2013. "Preference elicitation under oath," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 110-132.
    17. Stavroula Tsigou & Stathis Klonaris, 2018. "Factors affecting farmers’ WTP for innovative fertilizer against soil salinity," Working Papers 2018-3, Agricultural University of Athens, Department Of Agricultural Economics.
    18. John A. List & Michael K. Price, 2013. "Using Field Experiments in Environmental and Resource Economics," NBER Working Papers 19289, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Emmanouil Mentzakis & Jingjing Zhang, 2012. "An investigation of individual preferences: consistency across incentives and stability over time," ECON - Working Papers 070, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    20. Silva, Andres & Nayga, Rodolfo M., Jr. & Campbell, Benjamin L. & Park, John L., 2011. "Revisiting Cheap Talk with New Evidence from a Field Experiment," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 36(2), pages 1-12, August.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:12:y:2012:i:1:p:1-28:n:56. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peter Golla). General contact details of provider: https://www.degruyter.com .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.