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Household Versus Individual Valuation: What’s the Difference?

  • Ian Bateman
  • Alistair Munro


Standard practice in stated preference typically blurs the distinction between household and individual responses, but without a clear theoretical or empirical justification for this approach. To date there have been no empirical tests of whether values for say a two adult household elicited by interviewing one randomly selected adult are the same as the values generated by interviewing both adults simultaneously. Using cohabiting couples, we conduct a choice experiment field study valuing reductions in dietary health risks. In one treatment a random individual is chosen from the couple and interviewed alone; in the other treatment, both partners are questioned jointly. We find significant differences in household values calculated from joint as opposed to individual responses, with further variation between the values elicited from men and women. Our results question the assumption, implicit in common practice, that differences between individually and jointly elicited estimates of household values can effectively be ignored.

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Article provided by Springer & European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists in its journal Environmental and Resource Economics.

Volume (Year): 43 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (May)
Pages: 119-135

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Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:43:y:2009:i:1:p:119-135
DOI: 10.1007/s10640-009-9268-6
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  1. Dupont, Diane P., 2004. "Do children matter? An examination of gender differences in environmental valuation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 273-286, July.
  2. Dosman, Donna & Adamowicz, Wiktor L., 2002. "Combining Stated And Revealed Preference Data To Construct An Empirical Examination Of Intrahousehold Bargaining," Staff Paper Series 24084, University of Alberta, Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology.
  3. M. Browning & P. A. Chiappori, 1998. "Efficient Intra-Household Allocations: A General Characterization and Empirical Tests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(6), pages 1241-1278, November.
  4. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1063-93, Nov.-Dec..
  5. Alderman, H. & Chiappori, P.A. & Haddad, L., 1994. "Unitary versus Collective Models of the Household: Time to Shift the Burden of Proof?," DELTA Working Papers 94-17, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  6. David Hensher & Nina Shore & Kenneth Train, 2005. "Households’ Willingness to Pay for Water Service Attributes," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 32(4), pages 509-531, December.
  7. Louviere,Jordan J. & Hensher,David A. & Swait,Joffre D., 2000. "Stated Choice Methods," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521788304, November.
  8. Ian Bateman & Alistair Munro, 2005. "An Experiment on Risky Choice Amongst Households," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(502), pages C176-C189, 03.
  9. John Quiggin, 1998. "Individual and Household Willingness to Pay for Public Goods," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 80(1), pages 58-63.
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