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Using Ex Ante Approaches to Obtain Credible Signals for Value in Contingent Markets: Evidence from the Field

  • Craig E. Landry
  • John A. List

While contingent valuation remains the only option available for measurement of total economic value of nonmarketed goods, the method has been criticized due to its hypothetical nature. We analyze field experimental data to evaluate two ex ante approaches to attenuating hypothetical bias, directly comparing value statements across four distinct referenda: hypothetical, "cheap talk", "consequential", and real. Our empirical evidence suggests two major findings: hypothetical responses are significantly different from real responses; and responses in the consequential and cheap talk treatments are statistically indistinguishable from real responses. We review the potential for each method to produce reliable results in the field. Copyright 2007, Oxford University Press.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1467-8276.2007.01017.x
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Article provided by Agricultural and Applied Economics Association in its journal American Journal of Agricultural Economics.

Volume (Year): 89 (2007)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 420-429

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Handle: RePEc:oup:ajagec:v:89:y:2007:i:2:p:420-429
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  1. Taylor, Laura O., 1998. "Incentive Compatible Referenda And The Valuation Of Environmental Goods," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 27(2), October.
  2. Smith, V. Kerry & Mansfield, Carol, 1996. "Buying Time: Real and Hypothetical Offers," Discussion Papers dp-97-09, Resources For the Future.
  3. Poe, Gregory L. & Clark, Jeremy & Schulze, William D., 1997. "Can Hypothetical, Questions Predict Actual, Participation In Public Programs? A Field Validity Test Using A Provision Point Mechanism," Working Papers 7264, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
  4. David Aadland & Arthur J. Caplan, 2003. "Willingness to Pay for Curbside Recycling with Detection and Mitigation of Hypothetical Bias," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 85(2), pages 492-502.
  5. David Bjornstad & Ronald Cummings & Laura Osborne, 1997. "A Learning Design for Reducing Hypothetical Bias in the Contingent Valuation Method," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 10(3), pages 207-221, October.
  6. John A. List, 2001. "Do Explicit Warnings Eliminate the Hypothetical Bias in Elicitation Procedures? Evidence from Field Auctions for Sportscards," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1498-1507, December.
  7. List, John A. & Shogren, Jason F., 2002. "Calibration of Willingness-to-Accept," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 219-233, March.
  8. Powe, N.A. & Garrod, G.D. & McMahon, P.L., 2005. "Mixing methods within stated preference environmental valuation: choice experiments and post-questionnaire qualitative analysis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(4), pages 513-526, March.
  9. Richard Carson & Theodore Groves, 2007. "Incentive and informational properties of preference questions," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 37(1), pages 181-210, May.
  10. Aart de Zeeuw & Erwin Bulte & John List & Shelby Gerking, 2004. "The effect of varying the causes of environmental problems on stated wtp values: Evidence from a field study," Framed Field Experiments 00134, The Field Experiments Website.
  11. Dan Ariely & George Loewenstein & Drazen Prelec, 2003. ""Coherent Arbitrariness": Stable Demand Curves Without Stable Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 73-105, February.
  12. John A. Fox & Jason F. Shogren & Dermot J. Hayes & James B. Kliebenstein, 1998. "CVM-X: Calibrating Contingent Values with Experimental Auction Markets," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 80(3), pages 455-465.
  13. 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.
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