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Experimental Methods and Valuation

In: Handbook of Environmental Economics

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  • Shogren, Jason F.

Abstract

This chapter explores how economists use experimental methods to understand better the behavioral underpinnings of environmental valuation. Economic experiments, in the lab or field, are an attractive tool to address intricate incentive and contextual questions that arise in assessing values through direct statements of preferences. By combining empirical observation with theoretical insight, researchers use the experimental method and mindset to help explain how economic and social contexts matter to valuation. Herein we consider three themes in applying the experimental method to valuation - rational choice theory and stated values, direct value elicitation in the field and lab, and "testbedding" survey designs prior to field application. First, experimental tests of rational valuation are discussed. This lab work examines whether respondents make choices and state values in a manner consistent with standard rational choice theory. The circumstances of rational valuation are illustrated by the malleability of two classic anomalies - the WTP-WTA divergence and the preference reversal phenomenon. Second, direct experimental methods to measure actual values for public and private goods are examined. These experiments ask people to buy and sell actual goods to elicit real values, in which researchers test how alternative exchange institutions affect these values. Third, we survey testbed experiments designed to identify potential incentive problems caused by hypothetical valuation questions. Four topics are discussed: testing for hypothetical bias, calibrating real and hypothetical values, examining surrogate values (or scoping) for specific environmental preferences, and evaluating the incentive (in)compatibility of alternative elicitation mechanisms.

Suggested Citation

  • Shogren, Jason F., 2006. "Experimental Methods and Valuation," Handbook of Environmental Economics,in: K. G. Mäler & J. R. Vincent (ed.), Handbook of Environmental Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 19, pages 969-1027 Elsevier.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:envchp:2-19
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    Cited by:

    1. Wiktor L. Adamowicz, 2004. "What's it worth? An examination of historical trends and future directions in environmental valuation," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 48(3), pages 419-443, September.
    2. Lindhjem, Henrik & Navrud, Ståle, 2011. "Using Internet in Stated Preference Surveys: A Review and Comparison of Survey Modes," International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, now publishers, vol. 5(4), pages 309-351, September.
    3. Juan Camilo Cárdenas, 2009. "Experiments in Environment and Development," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 157-182, September.
    4. Lindhjem, Henrik & Navrud, Ståle, 2008. "Internet CV surveys – a cheap, fast way to get large samples of biased values?," MPRA Paper 11471, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Thuriane Mahé, 2010. "Are Stated Preferences Confirmed by Purchasing Behaviours? The Case of Fair Trade-Certified Bananas in Switzerland," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 92(2), pages 301-315, April.
    6. Juan Cardenas, 2011. "Social Norms and Behavior in the Local Commons as Seen Through the Lens of Field Experiments," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 48(3), pages 451-485, March.
    7. Nick Hanley & Jason Shogren, 2005. "Is Cost–Benefit Analysis Anomaly-Proof?," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 32(1), pages 13-24, September.
    8. Alec Smith & B. Douglas Bernheim & Colin F. Camerer & Antonio Rangel, 2014. "Neural Activity Reveals Preferences without Choices," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 1-36, May.
    9. Glenn Harrison, 2006. "Experimental Evidence on Alternative Environmental Valuation Methods," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 34(1), pages 125-162, May.
    10. Margolis, Michael & Shogren, Jason F., 2004. "Implementing the efficient auction: initial results from the lab," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 141-147, July.
    11. Nicolas Jacquemet & Robert-Vincent Joule & Stephane Luchini & Jason Shogren, 2010. "Do people always pay less than they say? Testbed laboratory experiments with IV and HG values," Working Papers halshs-00443668, HAL.
    12. Jack, B. Kelsey, 2009. "Upstream-downstream transactions and watershed externalities: Experimental evidence from Kenya," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(6), pages 1813-1824, April.
    13. Alfnes, Frode & Rickertsen, Kyrre, 2003. "Sc-X: Calibrating Stated Choice Surveys With Experimental Auction Markets," 2003 Annual Meeting, August 16-22, 2003, Durban, South Africa 25814, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    14. John K. Horowitz & Kenneth E. McConnell & James J. Murphy, 2013. "Behavioral foundations of environmental economics and valuation," Chapters,in: Handbook on Experimental Economics and the Environment, chapter 4, pages 115-156 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    15. Astrid Dannenberg & Sara Scatasta & Bodo Sturm, 2009. "Keine Chance für genetisch veränderte Lebensmittel in Deutschland? Eine experimentelle Analyse von Zahlungsbereitschaften," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 10(2), pages 214-234, May.
    16. Barrage, Lint & Lee, Min Sok, 2010. "A penny for your thoughts: Inducing truth-telling in stated preference elicitation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 106(2), pages 140-142, February.
    17. Andreas C. Drichoutis & Panagiotis Lazaridis & Rodolfo M. Nayga, 2009. "Would consumers value food-away-from-home products with nutritional labels?," Agribusiness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(4), pages 550-575.
    18. Diederich, Johannes & Goeschl, Timo, 2011. "Willingness to Pay for Individual Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions: Evidence from a Large Field Experiment," Working Papers 0517, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
    19. Nicolas Jacquemet & Robert‐Vincent Joule & Stéphane Luchini & Jason F. Shogren, 2011. "Do People Always Pay Less Than They Say? Testbed Laboratory Experiments with IV and HG Values," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 13(5), pages 857-882, October.
    20. Lindhjem, Henrik & Navrud, Ståle, 2010. "Can cheap panel-based internet surveys substitute costly in-person interviews in CV surveys?," MPRA Paper 24069, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    21. Jacinto Braga & Chris Starmer, 2005. "Preference Anomalies, Preference Elicitation and the Discovered Preference Hypothesis," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 32(1), pages 55-89, September.

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