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Does Don't Know Mean No? Analysis of 'Don't Know Responses in Dichotomous Choice Contingent Valuation Questions

  • Peter A. Groothuis
  • John C. Whitehead

The 'don't know' response option in contingent valuation dichotomous choice questions is analysed using data from both willingness to pay and willingness to accept studies. An empirical analysis is conducted to determine whether respondents are stating a response similar to yes or no responses or a middle response. It is found that don't know responses are similar to no responses in the willingness to pay study. In the willingness to accept study, it is found that the 'don't know' responses are similar to a middle response. It is further suggested that researchers consider calculating ambivalence bounds when a don't know response is a middle response.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Appalachian State University in its series Working Papers with number 02-15.

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Date of creation: 2002
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in Applied Economics
Handle: RePEc:apl:wpaper:02-15
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Web page: http://www.business.appstate.edu/departments/economics/

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  1. Ready Richard C. & Whitehead John C. & Blomquist Glenn C., 1995. "Contingent Valuation When Respondents Are Ambivalent," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 181-196, September.
  2. Peter A. Groothuis & George Van Houtven & John C. Whitehead, 1998. "Using Contingent Valuation to Measure the Compensation Required to Gain Community Acceptance of a Lulu: the Case of a Hazardous Waste Disposal Facility," Public Finance Review, , vol. 26(3), pages 231-249, May.
  3. Richard T. Carson & W. Michael Hanemann & Raymond J. Kopp & Jon A. Krosnick & Robert Cameron Mitchell & Stanley Presser, 1998. "Referendum Design and Contingent Valuation: The NOAA Panel's No-Vote Recommendation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(2), pages 335-338, May.
  4. Milon, J. Walter, 1989. "Contingent valuation experiments for strategic behavior," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 293-308, November.
  5. Opaluch, James J. & Segerson, Kathleen, 1989. "Rational Roots Of "Irrational" Behavior: New Theories Of Economic Decision-Making," Northeastern Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 18(2), October.
  6. Wang, Hua, 1997. "Treatment of "Don't-Know" Responses in Contingent Valuation Surveys: A Random Valuation Model," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 219-232, February.
  7. Johannesson, Magnus & Johansson, Per-Olov & Kristrom, Bengt & Gerdtham, Ulf-G., 1993. "Willingness to pay for antihypertensive therapy -- further results," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 95-108, April.
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