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Hypothetical bias for private goods: does cheap talk make a difference?

Author

Listed:
  • Maurice Doyon

    (Université Laval)

  • Laure Saulais

    () (Institut Paul Bocuse)

  • Bernard Ruffieux

    () (GAEL - Laboratoire d'Economie Appliquée de Grenoble - UPMF - Université Pierre Mendès France - Grenoble 2 - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Institut National Polytechnique de Grenoble)

  • Denise Bweli

    (Egg Farmers of Canada)

Abstract

Economists and market researchers often need to accurately gauge consumers’ willingness-to-pay for private goods. The experimental literature has identified a problem of hypothetical bias when using stated preferences techniques, such as open-ended questions. It has been suggested that using a cheap talk script has the potential to resolve this bias. Yet, few empirical studies on the efficiency of cheap talk for private goods exist. This study uses a between-subjects experimental design to compare consumers’ willingness-to-pay for DHA-enriched milk using three elicitation methods: 1) Hypothetical open-ended stated preference question, without monetary consequence for the respondent; 2) Idem to the first with the addition of a cheap talk script; and 3) A Vickrey auction with real monetary consequences. In this experiment subjects have the choice to participate, or not, at each period. Our results indicate a significant hypothetical bias. While the use of cheap talk has no impact on this bias, it does however increase the level of participation to the market.

Suggested Citation

  • Maurice Doyon & Laure Saulais & Bernard Ruffieux & Denise Bweli, 2015. "Hypothetical bias for private goods: does cheap talk make a difference?," Post-Print hal-01254936, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-01254936
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01254936
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rodolfo M. Nayga, Jr. & Ximing Wu & Robert G. Brummett, 2007. "On the Use of Cheap Talk in New Product Valuation," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 2(1), pages 1-9.
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    Cited by:

    1. Magdalena Brzozowicz & Michał Krawczyk & Przemysław Kusztelak, 2017. "Do anchors hold for real? Anchoring effect and hypothetical bias in declared WTP," Working Papers 2017-24, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.
    2. Penn, Jerrod & Hu, Wuyang, 2016. "Making the Most of Cheap Talk in an Online Survey," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 236171, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

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    Keywords

    experimental economics; willingness to pay; cheap talk; hypothetical bias;

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