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Should We Trust Hypothetical Referenda? Test and Identification Problems

Author

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  • Carlsson, Fredrik

    () (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

  • Johansson-Stenman, Olof

    () (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

Abstract

In a paper published in the Journal of Political Economy, Cummings et al. experimentally compare hypothetical and real-money referenda. They reject the incentive compatibility hypothesis of hypothetical referenda. However, in a comment, Haab et al. claim that the hypothesis cannot be rejected if one corrects for heteroskedasticity. In this note we show that the methodology used by Haab et al. is flawed, and their conclusions unwarranted. Our results rather support the original conclusion that hypothetical referenda appears not to resemble real referenda (unless one has reasons to believe that the true variance is much larger in the hypothetical case). This paper outlines design and identification difficulties arising when statistically comparing real and hypothetical referenda.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlsson, Fredrik & Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2006. "Should We Trust Hypothetical Referenda? Test and Identification Problems," Working Papers in Economics 189, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics, revised 24 Jan 2006.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0189
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2077/2730
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Timothy C. Haab & Ju-Chin Huang & John C. Whitehead, 1999. "Are Hypothetical Referenda Incentive Compatible? A Comment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(1), pages 186-196, February.
    2. Vossler, Christian A. & Kerkvliet, Joe, 2003. "A criterion validity test of the contingent valuation method: comparing hypothetical and actual voting behavior for a public referendum," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 631-649, May.
    3. Cummings, Ronald G, et al, 1997. "Are Hypothetical Referenda Incentive Compatible?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(3), pages 609-621, June.
    4. Louviere,Jordan J. & Hensher,David A. & Swait,Joffre D., 2000. "Stated Choice Methods," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521788304.
    5. Davidson, Russell & MacKinnon, James G., 1984. "Convenient specification tests for logit and probit models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 241-262, July.
    6. Yatchew, Adonis & Griliches, Zvi, 1985. "Specification Error in Probit Models," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(1), pages 134-139, February.
    7. Cameron, Trudy Ann & James, Michelle D, 1987. "Efficient Estimation Methods for "Closed-ended' Contingent Valuation Surveys," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(2), pages 269-276, May.
    8. Jayson L. Lusk, 2003. "Effects of Cheap Talk on Consumer Willingness-to-Pay for Golden Rice," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 85(4), pages 840-856.
    9. Kiefer, Nicholas M & Skoog, Gary R, 1984. "Local Asymptotic Specification Error Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(4), pages 873-885, July.
    10. John A. List & Robert P. Berrens & Alok K. Bohara & Joe Kerkvliet, 2004. "Examining the Role of Social Isolation on Stated Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 741-752, June.
    11. Cameron, Trudy Ann & Poe, Gregory L. & Ethier, Robert G. & Schulze, William D., 2002. "Alternative Non-market Value-Elicitation Methods: Are the Underlying Preferences the Same?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 391-425, November.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Hypothetical referenda; incentive compatibility; non-market valuation; identification;

    JEL classification:

    • C12 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Hypothesis Testing: General
    • C35 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects

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