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Hypothetical Surveys and Real Economic Commitments


  • Helen R. Neill
  • Ronald G. Cummings
  • Philip T. Ganderton
  • Glenn W. Harrison
  • Thomas McGuckin


We provide controlled laboratory evidence that open-ended hypothetical surveys do not always accurately elicit real economic commitments from individuals. We argue that they can provide biased measures of true values, where the latter are elicited using incentive-compatible institutions. We also evaluate if it is the hypothetical-payment aspect of these surveys which results in these biases or the lack of explicitly incentive-compatible provision rules. We conclude that it is the former. We are unable to devise a hypothetical survey that uses an incentive-compatible provision rule to elicit valuations that are demonstrably truthful.

Suggested Citation

  • Helen R. Neill & Ronald G. Cummings & Philip T. Ganderton & Glenn W. Harrison & Thomas McGuckin, 1994. "Hypothetical Surveys and Real Economic Commitments," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 70(2), pages 145-154.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:landec:v:70:y:1994:i:2:p:145-154

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. M J Hagey & E J Malecki, 1986. "Linkages in High Technology Industries: A Florida Case Study," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 18(11), pages 1477-1498, November.
    2. McDonald, John F & Moffitt, Robert A, 1980. "The Uses of Tobit Analysis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 62(2), pages 318-321, May.
    3. M J Hagey & E J Malecki, 1986. "Linkages in high technology industries: a Florida case study," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 18(11), pages 1477-1498, November.
    4. James P. Miller & Herman Bluestone, 1988. "Prospects for Service Sector Employment Growth in Non-Metropolitan America," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 18(1), pages 28-41, Winter.
    5. Raymond Vernon, 1966. "International Investment and International Trade in the Product Cycle," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(2), pages 190-207.
    6. P N O'Farrell & B O'Loughlin, 1981. "New Industry Input Linkages in Ireland: An Econometric Analysis," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 13(3), pages 285-308, March.
    7. James P. Miller, 1989. "The Product Cycle and High Technology Industry in Nonmetropolitan Areas, 1976-1980," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 19(1), pages 1-12, Winter.
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