Combining stated and revealed choice research to simulate the neighbor effect: The case of hybrid-electric vehicles
According to intuition and theories of diffusion, consumer preferences develop along with technological change. However, most economic models designed for policy simulation unrealistically assume static preferences. To improve the behavioral realism of an energy-economy policy model, this study investigates the "neighbor effect," where a new technology becomes more desirable as its adoption becomes more widespread in the market. We measure this effect as a change in aggregated willingness to pay under different levels of technology penetration. Focusing on hybrid-electric vehicles, an online survey experiment collected stated preference (SP) data from 535 Canadian and 408 Californian vehicle owners under different hypothetical market conditions. Revealed preference (RP) data was collected from the same respondents by eliciting the year, make and model of recent vehicle purchases from regions with different degrees of HEV popularity: Canada with 0.17% new market share, and California with 3.0% new market share. We compare choice models estimated from RP data only with three joint SP-RP estimation techniques, each assigning a different weight to the influence of SP and RP data in coefficient estimates. Statistically, models allowing more RP influence outperform SP influenced models. However, results suggest that because the RP data in this study is afflicted by multicollinearity, techniques that allow more SP influence in the beta estimates while maintaining RP data for calibrating vehicle class constraints produce more realistic estimates of willingness to pay. Furthermore, SP influenced coefficient estimates also translate to more realistic behavioral parameters for CIMS, allowing more sensitivity to policy simulations.
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