Does On-site Experience Affect Responses to Stated Preference Questions?
An important issue in the design of stated-preference surveys is in the hypothetical setting whether providing information to the respondents can elicit valid value estimates. On-site experience with a resource is one way to provide respondents with first-hand information about the valuation object. In the research here we construct a treatment by providing the survey respondents an opportunity to have a walk through the forest. We compare the preference parameter estimates for on-site treatment with those for a mail survey in the context of a choice study of forest management practices. As both the sample/frame/mode and the information provided have been changed, we conduct both the on-site, pretest and on-site, posttest survey to differentiate the information effect. The results show that the stated preference is procedure invariant. The mail survey respondents are remarkably similar with both the on-site, pretest survey and the on-site, posttest survey. It indicates a mail scenario can provide sufficient information through appropriate description, and an on-site experience is not always necessary for respondents to estimate policy relevant values.
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