Embedding and calibration in measuring non-use values
Embedding, the notion that respondents to contingent valuation (CV) questions often value more than the researcher intends, has engendered extreme views. These range from the suggestion that embedding is so severe that it renders CV useless to the assertion that embedding can be eliminated by providing sufficient information in a survey. This paper examines three alternative explanations for embedding: 1) the purchase of moral satisfaction, 2) independent valuation and summation, and 3) mental models of joint products. Several studies that shed light on the nature of the embedding problem are presented and we examine whether it is possible to test for embedding through follow up questions that obtain self reports from respondents. We show that answers to these debriefing questions predict whether or not different groups of respondents pass a scope test (i.e., a statistically significant difference between groups valuing different levels of the same commodity). We reject the view that increased market context can solve the embedding problem. Rather, embedding may depend on the nature of the commodity itself.
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