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Cost thresholds, cut-offs and sensitivities in stated choice analysis: Identification and implications

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  • Campbell, Danny
  • Hensher, David A.
  • Scarpa, Riccardo

Abstract

Within the discrete choice literature, there is growing recognition that some respondents do not process all attributes when evaluating their choice outcomes. Worryingly, the cost attribute is often among those attributes that are likely to be ignored by respondents. We use probabilistic decision process models (similar in form to latent class models, but where we define the classes to describe specific heuristics) to facilitate situations where respondents adopt cost thresholds and cut-offs. We further develop this model to address the potential confounding between preference heterogeneity and processing heterogeneity by simultaneously allowing for a segmentation of respondents based on their sensitivities to cost. Results, based on an empirical dataset on the existence value of rare fish species in Ireland, provide further confirmation that a share of respondents did not attended to cost. Importantly, however, when heterogeneity to cost levels is accounted for the inferred incidence of complete non-attendance is markedly lower, to the extent that when cost thresholds and cut-offs are also accommodated it almost disappears. This modelling approach leads to significant gains in model fit and has important implications for welfare analysis.

Suggested Citation

  • Campbell, Danny & Hensher, David A. & Scarpa, Riccardo, 2012. "Cost thresholds, cut-offs and sensitivities in stated choice analysis: Identification and implications," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 396-411.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:resene:v:34:y:2012:i:3:p:396-411 DOI: 10.1016/j.reseneeco.2012.04.001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. David Hensher & William Greene, 2010. "Non-attendance and dual processing of common-metric attributes in choice analysis: a latent class specification," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 413-426, October.
    2. Danny Campbell & David A. Hensher & Riccardo Scarpa, 2011. "Non-attendance to attributes in environmental choice analysis: a latent class specification," Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 54(8), pages 1061-1076, December.
    3. Cantillo, Víctor & Heydecker, Benjamin & de Dios Ortúzar, Juan, 2006. "A discrete choice model incorporating thresholds for perception in attribute values," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 40(9), pages 807-825, November.
    4. Danny Campbell & W. Hutchinson & Riccardo Scarpa, 2008. "Incorporating Discontinuous Preferences into the Analysis of Discrete Choice Experiments," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 41(3), pages 401-417, November.
    5. DeShazo, J. R. & Fermo, German, 2002. "Designing Choice Sets for Stated Preference Methods: The Effects of Complexity on Choice Consistency," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 123-143, July.
    6. Fredrik Carlsson & Mitesh Kataria & Elina Lampi, 2010. "Dealing with Ignored Attributes in Choice Experiments on Valuation of Sweden’s Environmental Quality Objectives," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 47(1), pages 65-89, September.
    7. William H. Greene & David A. Hensher, 2013. "Revealing additional dimensions of preference heterogeneity in a latent class mixed multinomial logit model," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(14), pages 1897-1902, May.
    8. Fredrik Carlsson & Peter Martinsson, 2008. "How Much is Too Much?," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 40(2), pages 165-176, June.
    9. David Hensher & John Rose & William Greene, 2005. "The implications on willingness to pay of respondents ignoring specific attributes," Transportation, Springer, vol. 32(3), pages 203-222, May.
    10. Riccardo Scarpa & Mara Thiene & David A. Hensher, 2010. "Monitoring Choice Task Attribute Attendance in Nonmarket Valuation of Multiple Park Management Services: Does It Matter?," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 86(4), pages 817-839.
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    14. Saelensminde, Kjartan, 2006. "Causes and consequences of lexicographic choices in stated choice studies," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 331-340, September.
    15. Glenn Bush & Sergio Colombo & Nick Hanley, 2009. "Should all Choices Count? Using the Cut-Offs Approach to Edit Responses in a Choice Experiment," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 44(3), pages 397-414, November.
    16. Hess, Stephane & Hensher, David A., 2010. "Using conditioning on observed choices to retrieve individual-specific attribute processing strategies," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 44(6), pages 781-790, July.
    17. Puckett, Sean M. & Hensher, David A., 2008. "The role of attribute processing strategies in estimating the preferences of road freight stakeholders," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 379-395, May.
    18. Morten Mørkbak & Tove Christensen & Dorte Gyrd-Hansen, 2010. "Choke Price Bias in Choice Experiments," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 45(4), pages 537-551, April.
    19. Mika Rekola, 2003. "Lexicographic Preferences in Contingent Valuation: A Theoretical Framework with Illustrations," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 79(2), pages 277-291.
    20. Bart Vermeulen & Peter Goos & Riccardo Scarpa & Martina Vandebroek, 2011. "Bayesian Conjoint Choice Designs for Measuring Willingness to Pay," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 48(1), pages 129-149, January.
    21. Riccardo Scarpa & Timothy J. Gilbride & Danny Campbell & David A. Hensher, 2009. "Modelling attribute non-attendance in choice experiments for rural landscape valuation," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 36(2), pages 151-174, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Meginnis, Keila & Campbell, Danny, 2017. "Students’ preferences for attributes of postgraduate economics modules: Evidence from a multi-profile best-worst scaling survey," International Review of Economics Education, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 18-27.
    2. Boeri, Marco & Scarpa, Riccardo & Chorus, Caspar G., 2014. "Stated choices and benefit estimates in the context of traffic calming schemes: Utility maximization, regret minimization, or both?," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 121-135.
    3. Colombo, Sergio & Christie, Michael & Hanley, Nick, 2013. "What are the consequences of ignoring attributes in choice experiments? Implications for ecosystem service valuation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 25-35.
    4. Collins, Andrew T. & Rose, John M. & Hensher, David A., 2013. "Specification issues in a generalised random parameters attribute nonattendance model," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 234-253.
    5. John C. Whitehead & Daniel K. Lew, 2016. "Estimating Recreation Benefits through Joint Estimation of Revealed and Stated Preference Discrete Choice Data," Working Papers 16-22, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
    6. Balbontin, Camila & Hensher, David A. & Collins, Andrew T., 2017. "Integrating attribute non-attendance and value learning with risk attitudes and perceptual conditioning," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 172-191.
    7. Moser, Riccarda & Raffaelli, Roberta, 2014. "Does attribute cut-off elicitation affect choice consistency? Contrasting hypothetical and real-money choice experiments," Journal of choice modelling, Elsevier, vol. 11(C), pages 16-29.
    8. Richard Yao & Riccardo Scarpa & John Rose & James Turner, 2015. "Experimental Design Criteria and Their Behavioural Efficiency: An Evaluation in the Field," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 62(3), pages 433-455, November.
    9. Campbell, Danny & Hensher, David A. & Scarpa, Riccardo, 2014. "Bounding WTP distributions to reflect the ‘actual’ consideration set," Journal of choice modelling, Elsevier, vol. 11(C), pages 4-15.
    10. Thiene, Mara & Meyerhoff, Jürgen & De Salvo, Maria, 2012. "Scale and taste heterogeneity for forest biodiversity: Models of serial nonparticipation and their effects," Journal of Forest Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 355-369.
    11. Erdem, Seda & Campbell, Danny & Thompson, Carl, 2014. "Elimination and selection by aspects in health choice experiments: Prioritising health service innovations," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 10-22.
    12. Erdem, Seda & Campbell, Danny & Thompson, Carl, 2014. "Addressing elimination and selection by aspects decision rules in discrete choice experiments: does it matter?," 2014 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2014, Minneapolis, Minnesota 169839, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    13. Campbell, Danny & Boeri, Marco & Doherty, Edel & George Hutchinson, W., 2015. "Learning, fatigue and preference formation in discrete choice experiments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 345-363.
    14. Stephane Hess & Amanda Stathopoulos & Danny Campbell & Vikki O’Neill & Sebastian Caussade, 2013. "It’s not that I don’t care, I just don’t care very much: confounding between attribute non-attendance and taste heterogeneity," Transportation, Springer, vol. 40(3), pages 583-607, May.
    15. Klaus Glenk & Julia Martin-Ortega & Manuel Pulido-Velazquez & Jacqueline Potts, 2015. "Inferring Attribute Non-attendance from Discrete Choice Experiments: Implications for Benefit Transfer," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 60(4), pages 497-520, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Discrete choice experiments; Willingness to pay; Attribute non-attendance;

    JEL classification:

    • C25 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions; Probabilities
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects

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