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A Field Experiment Involving Cash and Hypothetical Charitable Donations

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  • Douglas Macmillan

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  • Trevor Smart
  • Andrew Thorburn

Abstract

An important focus for concern about Contingent Valuation (CV) is that hypothetical payments for non-market goods are biased upwards in comparison to cash payments. Lack of realism, through its influence on incentives to mis-report payments, may explain the divergence. This paper reports on a study which attempts to overcome this problem by emulating a real fund-raising solicitation by the Isle of Eigg Trust for both real and hypothetical donations. In contrast to previous results, the mean cash donation was higher (£3.71) than the man CV donation (£3.41). A third survey, which used a neutral CV design, implemented by a research organization, obtained a mean donation which was much higher (£6.21) than the cash equivalent. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Suggested Citation

  • Douglas Macmillan & Trevor Smart & Andrew Thorburn, 1999. "A Field Experiment Involving Cash and Hypothetical Charitable Donations," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 14(3), pages 399-412, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:14:y:1999:i:3:p:399-412
    DOI: 10.1023/A:1008304405734
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Thomas C. Brown & Patricia A. Champ & Richard C. Bishop & Daniel W. McCollum, 1996. "Which Response Format Reveals the Truth about Donations to a Public Good?," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 72(2), pages 152-166.
    2. Kalle Seip & Jon Strand, 1992. "Willingness to pay for environmental goods in Norway: A contingent valuation study with real payment," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 2(1), pages 91-106, January.
    3. Sinden, Jack A., 1988. "Empirical Tests Of Hypothetical Bias In Consumers' Surplus Surveys," Australian Journal of Agricultural Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 32(02-03).
    4. Richard T. Carson, 2011. "Contingent Valuation," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 2489.
    5. Helen R. Neill & Ronald G. Cummings & Philip T. Ganderton & Glenn W. Harrison & Thomas McGuckin, 1994. "Hypothetical Surveys and Real Economic Commitments," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 70(2), pages 145-154.
    6. Peter A. Diamond & Jerry A. Hausman, 1994. "Contingent Valuation: Is Some Number Better than No Number?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 45-64, Fall.
    7. Fischhoff, Baruch & Furby, Lita, 1988. "Measuring Values: A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Transactions with Special Reference to Contingent Valuation of Visibility," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 147-184, June.
    8. W. Michael Hanemann, 1994. "Valuing the Environment through Contingent Valuation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 19-43, Fall.
    9. Champ, Patricia A. & Bishop, Richard C. & Brown, Thomas C. & McCollum, Daniel W., 1997. "Using Donation Mechanisms to Value Nonuse Benefits from Public Goods," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 151-162, June.
    10. John Loomis & Thomas Brown & Beatrice Lucero & George Peterson, 1996. "Improving Validity Experiments of Contingent Valuation Methods: Results of Efforts to Reduce the Disparity of Hypothetical and Actual Willingness to Pay," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 72(4), pages 450-461.
    11. Kealy, Mary Jo & Montgomery, Mark & Dovidio, John F., 1990. "Reliability and predictive validity of contingent values: Does the nature of the good matter?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 244-263, November.
    12. Vivien Foster & Ian J. Bateman & David Harley, 1997. "Real And Hypothetical Willingness To Pay For Environmental Preservation: A Non-Experimental Comparison," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(1-3), pages 123-137.
    13. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. MacMillan, Douglas & Hanley, Nick & Lienhoop, Nele, 2006. "Contingent valuation: Environmental polling or preference engine?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 299-307, November.
    2. Ken Belcher & Andrea Germann & Josef Schmutz, 2007. "Beef with environmental and quality attributes: Preferences of environmental group and general population consumers in Saskatchewan, Canada," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 24(3), pages 333-342, September.
    3. Schlapfer, Felix, 2006. "Survey protocol and income effects in the contingent valuation of public goods: A meta-analysis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 415-429, May.
    4. repec:kap:iaecre:v:13:y:2007:i:2:p:171-182 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Debra Israel, 2007. "Charitable Donations: Evidence of Demand for Environmental Protection?," International Advances in Economic Research, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 13(2), pages 171-182, May.
    6. Schlapfer, Felix & Roschewitz, Anna & Hanley, Nick, 2004. "Validation of stated preferences for public goods: a comparison of contingent valuation survey response and voting behaviour," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1-2), pages 1-16, November.
    7. Edward J. Lopez & W. Robert Nelson, 2005. "The Endowment Effect in a Public Good Experiment," Experimental 0512001, EconWPA.

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