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Interview Effects in an Environmental Valuation Telephone Survey


  • Min Gong
  • David Aadland



Because of the lack of markets for many environmental services, economists have turned to valuation surveys to estimate the value of these services. However, lack of market experience may cause respondents in valuation surveys to be more prone to interview effects than they would be with other opinion surveys. Without reference to market price or experience, respondents are less likely to have well-defined preferences, which may cause respondents to be more easily influenced by the interview process and characteristics of the interviewer. In this paper, we investigate interview effects in a random digit dial telephone survey of recycling valuation and behavior. Following previous research in both psychology and survey methodology, we test the direct effects of interviewer gender and race, as well as the interaction effects between interviewer and respondent characteristics. Using data from 130 interviewers and 1,786 interviewees, we apply a hierarchical regression model that accounts for the clustering of interviews and controls for a variety of other confounding variables. We confirm the existence of both direct and conditional interviewer effects. Respondents state higher willingness to pay when interviewed by white or female interviewers than by non-white or male interviewers. There were also significant interaction effects between interviewer and respondent characteristics. The directions of the interviewer effects are consistent with previous survey research and social psychology theories. We also identify some non-traditional interview process factors that have an influence on survey responses. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Suggested Citation

  • Min Gong & David Aadland, 2011. "Interview Effects in an Environmental Valuation Telephone Survey," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 49(1), pages 47-64, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:49:y:2011:i:1:p:47-64
    DOI: 10.1007/s10640-010-9423-0

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Maria Loureiro & Justus Lotade, 2005. "Interviewer Effects on the Valuation of Goods with Ethical and Environmental Attributes," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 30(1), pages 49-72, January.
    2. Daniel Kahneman & Robert Sugden, 2005. "Experienced Utility as a Standard of Policy Evaluation," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 32(1), pages 161-181, September.
    3. David Aadland & Arthur Caplan & Owen Phillips, 2007. "A Bayesian examination of information and uncertainty in contingent valuation," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 35(2), pages 149-178, October.
    4. John Loomis & Lindsey Ellingson & Armando Gonzalez -Caban & Andy Seidl, 2006. "Ethnicity and Language in Contingent Valuation Analysis," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(3), pages 559-586, July.
    5. Brookshire, David S, et al, 1982. "Valuing Public Goods: A Comparison of Survey and Hedonic Approaches," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(1), pages 165-177, March.
    6. Daniel McFadden, 2001. "Economic Choices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 351-378, June.
    7. Clarke, Paul & Sproston, Kerry & Thomas, Roger, 2003. "An investigation into expectation-led interviewer effects in health surveys," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(10), pages 2221-2228, May.
    8. J. J. Hox, 1994. "Hierarchical Regression Models for Interviewer and Respondent Effects," Sociological Methods & Research, , vol. 22(3), pages 300-318, February.
    9. Diamantopoulos, Adamantios & Schlegelmilch, Bodo B. & Sinkovics, Rudolf R. & Bohlen, Greg M., 2003. "Can socio-demographics still play a role in profiling green consumers? A review of the evidence and an empirical investigation," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 465-480, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Boschini, Anne & Dreber, Anna & von Essen, Emma & Muren, Astri & Ranehill, Eva, 2015. "Gender and altruism in a random sample," Research Papers in Economics 2015:7, Stockholm University, Department of Economics, revised 29 Jan 2018.
    2. Min Gong & Geoffrey Heal, 2014. "Why do People Care about Sea Lions? A Fishing Game to Study the Value of Endangered Species," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 59(4), pages 503-523, December.
    3. Marcelo Lima, 2017. "Survey sponsor effects on the willingness to pay for mortality risk reductions," GRI Working Papers 272, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    4. Bruckmeier, Kerstin & Müller, Gerrit & Riphahn, Regina T., 2015. "Survey misreporting of welfare receipt—Respondent, interviewer, and interview characteristics," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 129(C), pages 103-107.


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