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Preference uncertainty in contingent valuation


  • Akter, Sonia
  • Bennett, Jeff
  • Akhter, Sanzida


In this paper, the results of empirical studies that applied two widely used methods - numerical certainty scale (NCS) and polychotmous choice (PC) - for estimating preference uncertainty adjusted willingness to pay (WTP) in contingent valuation (CV), are summarized. For this review, a number of conclusions are reached. First, there is a lack of consensus about which method is more appropriate for measuring preference uncertainty. Second, although preference uncertainty information has been found useful in detecting the incidence of hypothetical bias in CV studies, a consensus about a standard certainty threshold (or treatment mechanism) at which hypothetical behaviour converges to real behaviour is yet to emerge. Third, insufficient empirical evidence exists about the causal relationship between preference uncertainty scores and the theoretically expected explanatory variables. Finally, the preference uncertainty adjusted PC and NCS models fail to provide a consistent and more efficient welfare estimate compared to the conventional dichotomous choice certainty model.

Suggested Citation

  • Akter, Sonia & Bennett, Jeff & Akhter, Sanzida, 2008. "Preference uncertainty in contingent valuation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 345-351, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:67:y:2008:i:3:p:345-351

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    Cited by:

    1. Aguilar, Francisco X. & Daniel, Marissa “Jo†& Cai, Zhen, 2014. "Family-forest Owners’ Willingness to Harvest Sawlogs and Woody Biomass: The Effect of Price on Social Availability," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 43(2), August.
    2. Kräussl, Roman & Lucas, André & Siegmann, Arjen, 2012. "Risk aversion under preference uncertainty," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 1-7.
    3. Mimako Kobayashi & Klaus Moeltner & Kimberly Rollins, 2010. "Latent Thresholds Analysis of Choice Data with Multiple Bids and Response Options," Working Papers 10-001, University of Nevada, Reno, Department of Economics;University of Nevada, Reno , Department of Resource Economics.
    4. Pondorfer, Andreas & Rehdanz, Katrin, 2015. "Eliciting preferences for public goods in non-monetized communities: Accounting for preference uncertainty," Kiel Working Papers 2010, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    5. Dale Whittington & Stefano Pagiola, 2012. "Using Contingent Valuation in the Design of Payments for Environmental Services Mechanisms: A Review and Assessment," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 27(2), pages 261-287, August.
    6. Aguilar, Francisco X. & Daniel, Marissa “Jo†& Cai, Zhen, 0. "Family-forest Owners’ Willingness to Harvest Sawlogs and Woody Biomass: The Effect of Price on Social Availability," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association.
    7. Julia Blasch & Mehdi Farsi, 2012. "Retail demand for voluntary carbon offsets - A choice experiment among Swiss consumers," IED Working paper 12-18, IED Institute for Environmental Decisions, ETH Zurich.
    8. Lyssenko, Nikita & Martinez-Espineira, Roberto, 2009. "`Been there done that': Disentangling option value effects from user heterogeneity when valuing natural resources with a use component," MPRA Paper 21976, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 08 Apr 2010.
    9. Akter, Sonia & Bennett, Jeffrey W., 2009. "A cognitive psychological approach of analyzing preference uncertainty in contingent valuation," 2009 Conference (53rd), February 11-13, 2009, Cairns, Australia 47938, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    10. Voltaire, Louinord & Pirrone, Claudio & Bailly, Denis, 2013. "Dealing with preference uncertainty in contingent willingness to pay for a nature protection program: A new approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 76-85.
    11. Akter, Sonia & Brouwer, Roy & Brander, Luke & van Beukering, Pieter, 2009. "Respondent uncertainty in a contingent market for carbon offsets," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(6), pages 1858-1863, April.
    12. repec:eee:ecolec:v:137:y:2017:i:c:p:47-55 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Torres, Cati & Faccioli, Michela & Riera Font, Antoni, 2017. "Waiting or acting now? The effect on willingness-to-pay of delivering inherent uncertainty information in choice experiments," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 231-240.
    14. Raja Chakir & Maia David & Estelle Gozlan & Aminata Sangare, 2016. "Valuing the Impacts of An Invasive Biological Control Agent: A Choice Experiment on the Asian Ladybird in France," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(3), pages 619-638, September.
    15. Nikita Lyssenko & Roberto Martínez-Espiñeira, 2012. "Respondent uncertainty in contingent valuation: the case of whale conservation in Newfoundland and Labrador," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(15), pages 1911-1930, May.
    16. Dekker, Thijs & Hess, Stephane & Brouwer, Roy & Hofkes, Marjan, 2016. "Decision uncertainty in multi-attribute stated preference studies," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 57-73.
    17. Hultkrantz, Lars & Shengcong, Xue, 2009. "Mitigating Hypothetical Bias in Value of Time Studies: Lab-Experiment Results," Working Papers 2009:14, Örebro University, School of Business, revised 01 Nov 2010.
    18. Sauer, Uta & Fischer, Anke, 2010. "Willingness to pay, attitudes and fundamental values -- On the cognitive context of public preferences for diversity in agricultural landscapes," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 1-9, November.


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