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Using conditioning on observed choices to retrieve individual-specific attribute processing strategies

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  • Hess, Stephane
  • Hensher, David A.

Abstract

With the growing reliance on Stated Choice (SC) data, researchers are increasingly interested in understanding how respondents process the information presented to them in such surveys. Specifically, it has been argued that some respondents may simplify the choice tasks by consistently ignoring one or more of the attributes describing the alternatives, and direct questions put to respondents after the completion of SC surveys support this hypothesis. However, in the general context of issues with response quality in SC data, there are certainly grounds for questioning the reliability of stated attribute processing strategies. In this paper, we take a different approach by attempting to infer attribute processing strategies through the analysis of respondent-specific coefficient distributions obtained through conditioning on observed choices. Our results suggest that a share of respondents do indeed ignore a subset of explanatory variables. However, there is also some evidence that the inferred attribute processing strategies are not necessarily consistent with the stated attribute processing strategies. Additionally, there is some evidence that respondents who claim to have ignored a certain attribute may simply have assigned it lesser importance. The results produced by the inferring approach not only lead to slightly better fit but also more consistent results.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:transb:v:44:y:2010:i:6:p:781-790
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    References listed on IDEAS

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