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Can Hypothetical, Questions Predict Actual, Participation In Public Programs? A Field Validity Test Using A Provision Point Mechanism

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Listed:
  • Poe, Gregory L.
  • Clark, Jeremy
  • Schulze, William D.

Abstract

Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation utilized a demand revealing public good mechanism to implement a green electricity program for provision of renewable energy and planting trees. This GreenChoiceTM program provided an opportunity to test the reliability of contingent valuation for predicting actual participation levels. In this study, participation levels predicted by hypothetical open-ended and dichotomous choice questions are compared to a reference level obtained from the actual GreenChoiceTM program. This approach represents an important improvement over past public goods contingent valuation validity tests which have relied on voluntary contribution mechanisms to elicit actual willingness to pay, and thus are likely to overestimate hypothetical bias because of free riding. Yet, even with a demand revealing mechanism and controlling for awareness, hypothetical participation levels obtained from dichotomous choice responses are found to significantly exceed actual contributions. In contrast, open-ended responses predict actual contribution levels, in that hypothetical open-ended responses are not significantly different from actual responses. Calibration of hypothetical responses is also explored.

Suggested Citation

  • Poe, Gregory L. & Clark, Jeremy & Schulze, William D., 1997. "Can Hypothetical, Questions Predict Actual, Participation In Public Programs? A Field Validity Test Using A Provision Point Mechanism," Working Papers 7264, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:cudawp:7264
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.7264
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    File URL: http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/7264/files/wp970021.pdf
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. John A. List, 2001. "Do Explicit Warnings Eliminate the Hypothetical Bias in Elicitation Procedures? Evidence from Field Auctions for Sportscards," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1498-1507, December.
    2. Robert G. Ethier & Gregory L. Poe & William D. Schulze & Jeremy Clark, 2000. "Comparison of Hypothetical Phone and Mail Contingent Valuation Responses for Green-Pricing Electricity Programs," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 76(1), pages 54-67.
    3. Craig E. Landry & John A. List, 2007. "Using Ex Ante Approaches to Obtain Credible Signals for Value in Contingent Markets: Evidence from the Field," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 89(2), pages 420-429.
    4. Patricia Champ & Richard Bishop, 2001. "Donation Payment Mechanisms and Contingent Valuation: An Empirical Study of Hypothetical Bias," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 19(4), pages 383-402, August.
    5. Wiser, Ryan H., 1998. "Green power marketing: increasing customer demand for renewable energy," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 107-119, June.
    6. Laura O. Taylor & Ronald G. Cummings, 1999. "Unbiased Value Estimates for Environmental Goods: A Cheap Talk Design for the Contingent Valuation Method," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 649-665, June.

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