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What are the consequences of consequentiality?

  • Herriges, Joseph
  • Kling, Catherine
  • Liu, Chih-Chen
  • Tobias, Justin

We investigate the extent to which dichotomous choice referenda responses are shaped by whether the individual believes the survey itself will ultimately impact policy. Using survey data from the Iowa Lakes Project, we test this supposition. Specifically, we employ a Bayesian treatment effect model in which the degree of perceived consequentiality, measured as an ordinal response, is permitted to have a structural impact on willingness to pay (WTP) for a hypothetical environmental improvement. We test whether the estimated WTP distributions are the same for each value of the ordinal response. In our survey data, a subsample of individuals were randomly assigned supporting information suggesting that their responses to the questionnaires were important and will have an impact on policy decisions. In conjunction with a Bayesian posterior simulator, we use this source of exogenous variation to identify the structural impacts of consequentiality perceptions on willingness to pay, while controlling for the potential of confounding on unobservables. We find evidence consistent with a "knife-edge" result, namely that the willingness to pay distributions are equal among those believing the survey to be at least minimally consequential, and different for those believing that the survey is irrelevant for policy purposes.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Environmental Economics and Management.

Volume (Year): 59 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 67-81

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeeman:v:59:y:2010:i:1:p:67-81
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  1. Kai, Li, 1998. "Bayesian inference in a simultaneous equation model with limited dependent variables," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 387-400, August.
  2. Aart de Zeeuw & Erwin Bulte & John List & Shelby Gerking, 2004. "The effect of varying the causes of environmental problems on stated wtp values: Evidence from a field study," Framed Field Experiments 00134, The Field Experiments Website.
  3. Herriges, Joseph A. & Kling, Catherine L. & Liu, Chih-Chen & Tobias, Justin, 2009. "What Are the Consequences of Consequentiality?," Staff General Research Papers 13034, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  4. 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.
  5. Shogren, Jason F. & Parkhurst, Gregory M. & McIntosh, Christopher, 2006. "Second-price auction tournament," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 99-107, July.
  6. Cummings, Ronald G, et al, 1997. "Are Hypothetical Referenda Incentive Compatible?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(3), pages 609-21, June.
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