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Despairing Over Disparities: Explaining the Difference Between Willingness to Pay and Willingness to Accept

  • Carol Mansfield

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    This paper examines the three major explanations for the disparity between willingness-to-pay (WTP) and willingness-to-accept (WTA) observed in contingent value surveys and laboratory experiments: a belief that the results must be biased in some fashion, Hanemann's (1991) substitutes hypothesis, and the loss aversion model proposed by Tversky and Kahneman (1991). Starting from the assumption that individuals make utility maximizing choices, we develop structural equations that yield parametric tests of the hypotheses within a single, non-experimental framework. The approach is flexible enough to incorporate a variety of functional form and distributional assumptions and can be applied to either data from either open-ended bids or dichotomous choice questions. The usefulness of the approach is demonstrated using data from a survey that asked both WTP and WTA questions. The results provide weak support for loss aversion. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1023/A:1008246228773
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    Article provided by European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists in its journal Environmental and Resource Economics.

    Volume (Year): 13 (1999)
    Issue (Month): 2 (March)
    Pages: 219-234

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:13:y:1999:i:2:p:219-234
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    1. Hoehn, John P. & Randall, Alan, 1987. "A satisfactory benefit cost indicator from contingent valuation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 226-247, September.
    2. Hartman, Raymond S & Doane, Michael J & Woo, Chi-Keung, 1991. "Consumer Rationality and the Status Quo," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(1), pages 141-62, February.
    3. Shogren, Jason F. & Shin, Seung Youll & Hayes, Dermot J. & Kliebenstein, James, 1994. "Resolving Differences in Willingness to Pay and Willingness to Accept," Staff General Research Papers 701, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    4. Viscusi, W Kip & Evans, William N, 1990. "Utility Functions That Depend on Health Status: Estimates and Economic Implications," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 353-74, June.
    5. repec:att:wimass:9309 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Bohm, Peter, 1984. "Revealing demand for an actual public good," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 135-151, July.
    7. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard H, 1990. "Experimental Tests of the Endowment Effect and the Coase Theorem," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1325-48, December.
    8. Willig, Robert D, 1976. "Consumer's Surplus without Apology," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(4), pages 589-97, September.
    9. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1991. "Loss Aversion in Riskless Choice: A Reference-Dependent Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1039-61, November.
    10. Wiktor L. Adamowicz & Vinay Bhardwaj & Bruce Macnab, 1993. "Experiments on the Difference between Willingness to Pay and Willingness to Accept," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 69(4), pages 416-427.
    11. Randall, Alan & Stoll, John R, 1980. "Consumer's Surplus in Commodity Space," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(3), pages 449-55, June.
    12. Brookshire, David S & Coursey, Don L, 1987. "Measuring the Value of a Public Good: An Empirical Comparison of Elicitation Procedures," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 554-66, September.
    13. Hanemann, W Michael, 1991. "Willingness to Pay and Willingness to Accept: How Much Can They Differ?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 635-47, June.
    14. Andreoni, James, 1995. "Cooperation in Public-Goods Experiments: Kindness or Confusion?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 891-904, September.
    15. Knetsch, Jack L, 1989. "The Endowment Effect and Evidence of Nonreversible Indifference Curves," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 1277-84, December.
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