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Cheap Talk Scripts and Online Choice Experiments: "Looking Beyond the Mean"


  • Glynn T. Tonsor
  • Robert S. Shupp


This paper presents the first known assessment of cheap talk effectiveness in a choice experiment conducted online with a focus on the distinction between impacts on stated willingness to pay at the population mean and in targeted sub-samples. Utilizing a large national survey and split-sample experimental design, we find cheap talk scripts may not only influence the level of willingness to pay estimated for representative consumers, but also may produce more reliable estimates. The magnitude of the impact that cheap talk has on willingness to pay is found to depend on the evaluated respondent sub-sample. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Glynn T. Tonsor & Robert S. Shupp, 2011. "Cheap Talk Scripts and Online Choice Experiments: "Looking Beyond the Mean"," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1015-1031.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ajagec:v:93:y:2011:i:4:p:1015-1031

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    Cited by:

    1. Maurice Doyon & Laure Saulais & Bernard Ruffieux & Denise Bweli, 2015. "Hypothetical bias for private goods: does cheap talk make a difference?," Post-Print hal-01254936, HAL.
    2. Sackett, Hillary & Shupp, Robert & Tonsor, Glynn, 3. "Differentiating €Œsustainable†From €Œorganic†And €Œlocal†Food Choices: Does Information About Certification Criteria Help Consumers?," International Journal of Food and Agricultural Economics (IJFAEC), Alanya Alaaddin Keykubat University, Department of Economics and Finance, vol. 4(3).
    3. Adelina Gshwandtner & Cheul Jang & Richard McManus, 2017. "Improving Drinking Quality in South Korea: A Choice Experiment," Studies in Economics 1720, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    4. Hatton MacDonald, Darla & Ardeshiri, Ali & Rose, John M. & Russell, Bayden D. & Connell, Sean D., 2015. "Valuing coastal water quality: Adelaide, South Australia metropolitan area," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 116-124.
    5. Julia Blasch & Robert W. Turner, 2016. "Environmental art, prior knowledge about climate change, and carbon offsets," Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Springer;Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences, vol. 6(4), pages 691-705, December.
    6. Ladenburg, Jacob & Olsen, Søren Bøye, 2014. "Augmenting short Cheap Talk scripts with a repeated Opt-Out Reminder in Choice Experiment surveys," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 39-63.
    7. Kar H. Lim & Wuyang Hu, 2016. "How Local Is Local? A Reflection on Canadian Local Food Labeling Policy from Consumer Preference," Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics/Revue canadienne d'agroeconomie, Canadian Agricultural Economics Society/Societe canadienne d'agroeconomie, vol. 64(1), pages 71-88, March.
    8. Ndebele, T. & Marsh, Dan, 2013. "Consumer choice of electricity supplier: Investigating preferences for attributes of electricity services," 2013 Conference, August 28-30, 2013, Christchurch, New Zealand 160417, New Zealand Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    9. Penn, Jerrod & Hu, Wuyang, 2016. "Making the Most of Cheap Talk in an Online Survey," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 236171, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    10. Grebitus, Carola & Seitz, Carolin, 2014. "Relationship between attention and choice making," 2014 International Congress, August 26-29, 2014, Ljubljana, Slovenia 182669, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    11. Rocamora, Beatriz & Colombo, Sergio & Glenk, Klaus, 2014. "El impacto de las respuestas inconsistentes en las medidas de bienestar estimadas con el método del experimento de elección," Economia Agraria y Recursos Naturales, Spanish Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 14(2).
    12. Grebitus Carola & Roosen Jutta & Seitz Carolin Claudia, 2015. "Visual Attention and Choice: A Behavioral Economics Perspective on Food Decisions," Journal of Agricultural & Food Industrial Organization, De Gruyter, vol. 13(1), pages 73-81, January.
    13. Dentoni, Domenico & English, Francis & Schwarz, Daniela, 2014. "The Impact of Public R&D on Marketing and Supply Chains on Small Farms’ Market Sensing Capability: Evidence from the Australian Seafood Industry," International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA), vol. 17(1).
    14. Adelina Gschwandtner & Michael Burton, 2017. "The Willingness to Pay for Organic Attributes in the UK," Studies in Economics 1702, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    15. Van Wezemael, Lynn & Caputo, Vincenzina & Nayga, Rodolfo M. & Chryssochoidis, George & Verbeke, Wim, 2014. "European consumer preferences for beef with nutrition and health claims: A multi-country investigation using discrete choice experiments," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 167-176.
    16. Lewis, Karen E. & Grebitus, Carola & Nayga, Rodolfo M., 2016. "U.S. consumers’ preferences for imported and genetically modified sugar: Examining policy consequentiality in a choice experiment," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 1-8.
    17. Pascucci, Stefano & Magistris, Tiziana de, 2013. "Information Bias Condemning Radical Food Innovators? The Case of Insect-Based Products in the Netherlands," International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA), vol. 16(3).
    18. Turner, Robert, 2014. "Do Artistic Images Affect the Willingness to Buy Carbon Offsets? An Empirical Study," Working Papers 2014-03, Department of Economics, Colgate University, revised 24 Apr 2014.
    19. Mohammed H. Alemu & Søren B. Olsen, 2017. "Can a Repeated Opt-Out Reminder remove hypothetical bias in discrete choice experiments? An application to consumer valuation of novel food products," IFRO Working Paper 2017/05, University of Copenhagen, Department of Food and Resource Economics.
    20. Menegaki, Angeliki, N. & Olsen, Søren Bøye & Tsagarakis, Konstantinos P., 2016. "Towards a common standard – A reporting checklist for web-based stated preference valuation surveys and a critique for mode surveys," Journal of choice modelling, Elsevier, vol. 18(C), pages 18-50.
    21. Gautam, Tej K. & Paudel, Krishna P. & Guidry, Kurt M., 2017. "Willingness To Pay For Irrigation Water In Louisiana," 2017 Annual Meeting, February 4-7, 2017, Mobile, Alabama 252821, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
    22. Sackett, Hillary M. & Shupp, Robert S. & Tonsor, Glynn T., 2012. "Discrete Choice Modeling of Consumer Preferences for Sustainably Produced Steak and Apples," 2012 AAEA/EAAE Food Environment Symposium, May 30-31, Boston, MA 123517, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    23. Klaiman, Kimberly & Ortega, David & Garnache, Cloe, 2016. "Consumer Preferences and Demand for Packaging Material and Recyclability," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 235549, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    24. Dan Rigby & Michael Burton & Jo Pluske, 2016. "Preference Stability and Choice Consistency in Discrete Choice Experiments," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 65(2), pages 441-461, October.
    25. de Magistris, Tiziana & Pascucci, Stefano, 2012. "Consumers´ preferences for the millennium bugs. Does “solemn oath” mitigate the hypothetical bias in choice experiment?," 2012 Annual Meeting, August 12-14, 2012, Seattle, Washington 124834, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

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