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An Experimental Investigation of the Disparity Between WTA and WTP for Lotteries

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  • Ulrich Schmidt
  • Stefan Traub

Abstract

In this paper we experimentally investigate the disparity between willingness-to-accept (WTA) and willingness-to-pay (WTP) for risky lotteries. The direction of the income effect is reversed by endowing subjects with the highest price of a lottery when asking the WTP question. Our results show that the income effect is too small to be the only source of the disparity. Since the disparity concentrates on a subsample of subjects, parametric and nonparametric tests of the WTA-WTP ratio may lead to contradictory results. The disparity is significantly reduced when background risk is introduced. That is, putting subjects always into a risky position could improve the contingent valuation method which is often concerned with the assessment of risky situations such as health risks, automobile safety, etc.
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Suggested Citation

  • Ulrich Schmidt & Stefan Traub, 2009. "An Experimental Investigation of the Disparity Between WTA and WTP for Lotteries," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 66(3), pages 229-262, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:theord:v:66:y:2009:i:3:p:229-262
    DOI: 10.1007/s11238-007-9062-2
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    WTA-WTP disparity; lotteries; background risk; contingent valuation; C91; D81;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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