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External Validity of Hypothetical Surveys and Laboratory Experiments


  • Chang, Jae Bong
  • Lusk, Jayson L.
  • Norwood, F. Bailey


We compare the ability of three preference elicitation methods (hypothetical choices, non-hypothetical choices, and non-hypothetical rankings) and three discrete-choice econometric models (the multinomial logit, the independent availability logit, and the random parameter logit) to predict actual retail shopping behavior in three different product categories (ground beef, wheat flour, and dishwashing liquid). Overall, across all methods, we find a reasonably high level of external validity. Our results suggest that the non-hypothetical elicitation approaches, especially the non-hypothetical ranking, outperformed the hypothetical choice experiment in predicting retail sales. We also find that the random parameter logit can have superior predictive performance, but that the multinomial logit predicts equally well in some circumstances.

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  • Chang, Jae Bong & Lusk, Jayson L. & Norwood, F. Bailey, 2008. "External Validity of Hypothetical Surveys and Laboratory Experiments," 2008 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2008, Orlando, Florida 43600, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea08:43600

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Irwin, Julie R, et al, 1998. "Payoff Dominance vs. Cognitive Transparency in Decision Making," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(2), pages 272-285, April.
    2. Dermot J. Hayes & Jason F. Shogren & Seung Youll Shin & James B. Kliebenstein, 1995. "Valuing Food Safety in Experimental Auction Markets," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 77(1), pages 40-53.
    3. Fox, John A & Hayes, Dermot J & Shogren, Jason F, 2002. "Consumer Preferences for Food Irradiation: How Favorable and Unfavorable Descriptions Affect Preferences for Irradiated Pork in Experimental Auctions," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 75-95, January.
    4. Lusk, Jayson L. & House, Lisa O. & Valli, Carlotta & Jaeger, Sara R. & Moore, Melissa & Morrow, Bert & Traill, W. Bruce, 2005. "Consumer welfare effects of introducing and labeling genetically modified food," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 88(3), pages 382-388, September.
    5. Charles Noussair & St√ąphane Robin & Bernard Ruffieux, 2004. "Do Consumers Really Refuse To Buy Genetically Modified Food?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(492), pages 102-120, January.
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    More about this item


    contingent valuation; choice experiments; experimental economics; external validity; field experiment; Agribusiness; Consumer/Household Economics; Marketing; Research Methods/ Statistical Methods;

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