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Preference Elicitation under Oath

  • Nicolas Jacquemet

    ()

    (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics)

  • Robert-Vincent Joule

    ()

    (LPS - Laboratoire de Psychologie Sociale - Université de Provence - Aix-Marseille 1 - AMU - Aix Marseille Université)

  • Stephane Luchini

    ()

    (GREQAM - Groupement de Recherche en Économie Quantitative d'Aix-Marseille - ECM - Ecole Centrale de Marseille - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - Université Paul Cézanne - Aix-Marseille 3 - Université de la Méditerranée - Aix-Marseille 2 - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Jason Shogren

    ()

    (Departement of Economics and Finance, University of Wyoming - UW - University of Wyoming)

Eliciting sincere preferences for non-market goods remain a challenge due to the discrepency between hypothetical and real behavior and false zeros. The gap arises because people either overstate hypothetical values or understate real commitments or a combination of both. Herein we examine whether the traditional real-world institution of the solemn oath can improve preference elicitation. Applying the social psychology theory on the oath as a truth-telling-commitment device, we ask our bidders to swear on their honour to give honest answers prior to participating in an incentive-compatible second-price auction. The oath is an ancillary mechanism to commit bidders to bid sincerely in a second-price auction. Results from our induced valuation testbed treatments suggest that the oath-only auctions outperform all our other auctions (real and hypothetical). In our homegrown valuation treatments eliciting preferences for dolphin protection, the oath-only design induced people to treat as binding both their experimental budget constraint (i.e., lower values on the high end of the value distribution) and participation constraint (i.e., positive values in place of the zero bids used to opt-out of auction). Based on companion treatments, we show the oath works through an increase in the willingness to tell the truth, due to a strengthening of the intrinsic motivation to do so.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series PSE - Labex "OSE-Ouvrir la Science Economique" with number halshs-00731244.

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Date of creation: Jan 2013
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Publication status: Published in Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, 2013, 65 (1), pp.110-132. <10.1016/j.jeem.2012.05.004>
Handle: RePEc:hal:pseose:halshs-00731244
DOI: 10.1016/j.jeem.2012.05.004
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00731244
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