Skew and attribute non-attendance within the Bayesian mixed logit model
We investigate non-attendance to choice set attributes and the accommodation of preference heterogeneity within the mixed logit model. We propose a generalisation of the mixed logit enabling the degree of skew of marginal utility distributions to be estimated. The implementation is Bayesian with the marginal likelihood used as an arbiter of model performance. We find strong evidence of skew in the distributions of marginal utilities for most attributes. Models incorporating skew are preferred in all cases. The irrelevance of an attribute to significant numbers of respondents is a possible cause of such skew. We test alternative empirical accommodations of self-reported attribute non-attendance (ANA) and continue to find strong evidence of skew in the distributions of marginal utilities even having accounted for ANA. We find that, contrary to some recent findings, respondents who report having ignored an attribute typically do indeed have a zero marginal utility for that attribute.
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