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Willingness to Pay and the Cost of Commitment: An Empirical Specification and Test

Listed author(s):
  • Jay Corrigan

    ()

  • Catherine Kling

    ()

  • Jinhua Zhao

    ()

In a static setting, willingness to pay for an environmental improvement is equal to compensating variation. In a dynamic setting, however, willingness to pay may also contain a commitment cost. In this paper we incorporate the dynamic nature of the value formation process into a stated preference study designed to test whether there is an important dynamic component (commitment cost) in stated preference values. The results clearly indicate that stated preference values can contain commitment costs and that these can be quite large: respondents offered the opportunity to delay their purchasing decisions until more information became available were willing to pay significantly less for improved water quality than those facing a now-or-never decision. These results have important consequences for the design and interpretation of stated preference data.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10640-007-9153-0
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Article provided by Springer & European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists in its journal Environmental and Resource Economics.

Volume (Year): 40 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 285-298

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Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:40:y:2008:i:2:p:285-298
DOI: 10.1007/s10640-007-9153-0
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  1. John C. Bergstrom & John R. Stoll & Alan Randall, 1990. "The Impact of Information on Environmental Commodity Valuation Decisions," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 72(3), pages 614-621.
  2. John Loomis & Armando Gonzalez-Caban & Robin Gregory, 1994. "Do Reminders of Substitutes and Budget Constraints Influence Contingent Valuation Estimates?," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 70(4), pages 499-506.
  3. Jay Corrigan, 2005. "Is the Experimental Auction a Dynamic Market?," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 31(1), pages 35-45, 05.
  4. Laura O. Taylor & Ronald G. Cummings, 1999. "Unbiased Value Estimates for Environmental Goods: A Cheap Talk Design for the Contingent Valuation Method," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 649-665, June.
  5. Horowitz, John K. & McConnell, Kenneth E., 2002. "A Review of WTA/WTP Studies," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 426-447, November.
  6. Zhao, Jinhua & Kling, Catherine L., 2001. "A new explanation for the WTP/WTA disparity," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 73(3), pages 293-300, December.
  7. Carol Mansfield, 1999. "Despairing Over Disparities: Explaining the Difference Between Willingness to Pay and Willingness to Accept," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 13(2), pages 219-234, March.
  8. Blomquist, Glenn C. & Whitehead, John C., 1998. "Resource quality information and validity of willingness to pay in contingent valuation," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 179-196, June.
  9. Timothy Park & John B. Loomis & Michael Creel, 1991. "Confidence Intervals for Evaluating Benefits Estimates from Dichotomous Choice Contingent Valuation Studies," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 67(1), pages 64-73.
  10. Karl C. Samples & John A. Dixon & KMarcia M. Gowen, 1986. "Information Disclosure and Endangered Species Valuation," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 62(3), pages 306-312.
  11. Jinhua Zhao & Catherine L. Kling, 2004. "Willingness to Pay, Compensating Variation, and the Cost of Commitment," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 42(3), pages 503-517, July.
  12. Richard T. Carson & W. Michael Hanemann, & Raymond J. Kopp & Jon A. Krosnick & Robert C. Mitchell & Stanley Presser & Paul A. Rudd & V. Kerry Smith & Michael Conaway & Kerry Martin, 1997. "Temporal Reliability of Estimates from Contingent Valuation," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 73(2), pages 151-163.
  13. Catherine L. Kling & John A. List & Jinhua Zhao, 2003. "WTP/WTA Disparity: Have We Been Observing Dynamic Values but Interpreting Them as Static?, The," Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications 03-wp333, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.
  14. Richard T. Carson & W. Michael Hanemann & Raymond J. Kopp & Jon A. Krosnick & Robert Cameron Mitchell & Stanley Presser, 1998. "Referendum Design And Contingent Valuation: The Noaa Panel'S No-Vote Recommendation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(3), pages 484-487, August.
  15. Hanemann, W. Michael, 1989. "Information and the concept of option value," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 23-37, January.
  16. Horowitz, John K. & McConnell, K. E., 2003. "Willingness to accept, willingness to pay and the income effect," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 51(4), pages 537-545, August.
  17. Jayson L. Lusk, 2003. "An Experimental Test of the Commitment Cost Theory," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1316-1322.
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