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Does question order influence sensitivity to scope? Empirical findings from a web-based contingent valuation study


  • Jytte Seested Nielsen
  • Trine Kjær


This paper examines the relationship between question order and sensitivity to scope in a large-scale web-based stated preference survey using an Internet panel. Results are presented from a contingent valuation survey in which each individual was asked to value two independent gains in life expectancy. Using split-sample data for question order we are able to study sensitivity to scope by carrying out an internal as well as an external scope test, and to examine whether question order influences sensitivity to scope. Finally, we address whether our results raise some specific concerns regarding the use of web-based surveys. Overall we find that choice of elicitation approach - in this case bottom-up versus top-down - influences the stated willingness-to-pay values leading to order effects and differences in scope sensitivity. Our findings demonstrate that elicitation approach affects the decision-making strategy, suggesting that preferences at least to some extent are reference dependent and constructed during the elicitation task. In addition, our findings indicate some relation between scope insensitivity, time spent on filling out the questionnaire and experience as an Internet panel member.

Suggested Citation

  • Jytte Seested Nielsen & Trine Kjær, 2011. "Does question order influence sensitivity to scope? Empirical findings from a web-based contingent valuation study," Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 54(3), pages 369-381.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jenpmg:v:54:y:2011:i:3:p:369-381
    DOI: 10.1080/09640568.2010.506087

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Desvousges, William & Mathews, Kristy & Train, Kenneth, 2012. "Adequate responsiveness to scope in contingent valuation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 121-128.
    3. repec:eee:jeeman:v:87:y:2018:i:c:p:165-189 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Hammitt, James K. & Herrera-Araujo, Daniel, 2017. "Peeling back the onion: Using latent class analysis to uncover heterogeneous responses to stated preference surveys," TSE Working Papers 17-766, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).


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