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Does context matter more for hypothetical than for actual contributions? Evidence from a natural field experiment

  • Alpizar, Francisco

    ()

    (Environment for Development Center, Tropical Agricultural and Higher Education Center (CATIE))

  • 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)

We investigate the importance of the social context for people’s voluntary contributions to a national park in Costa Rica, using a natural field experiment. Some subjects make actual contributions while others state their hypothetical contribution. Both the degree of anonymity and provided information about the contributions of others influence subject contributions in the hypothesized direction. We do find a substantial hypothetical bias with regard to the amount contributed. However, the influence of the social contexts is about the same when the subjects make actual monetary contributions as when they state theirhypothetical contributions. Our results have important implications for validity testing of stated preference methods: a comparison between hypothetical and actual behavior should be done for a given social context.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2077/3323
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Paper provided by University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 251.

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Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: 19 Apr 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0251
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Box 640, SE 405 30 GÖTEBORG, Sweden
Phone: 031-773 10 00
Web page: http://www.handels.gu.se/econ/

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