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The first time is the hardest: A test of ordering effects in choice experiments

  • Carlsson, Fredrik


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

  • Raun Mørkbak, Morten


    (Institute of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen)

  • Bøye Olsen, Søren


    (Institute of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen)

This paper addresses the issue of ordering effects in choice experiments, and in particular how learning processes potentially affect respondents’ stated preferences in a sequence of choice sets. In a case study concerning food quality attributes of chicken breast filets, we find evidence of ordering effects in a sequence of 16 choice sets, where the last 8 choice sets are identical to the first 8. The overall preference structure is found to differ significantly between the two identical sequences of choice sets, and significant increases in marginal WTP are found for two out of four attributes. We find a reduction in the error variance for the last 8 choice sets relative to the first 8 choice sets. In particular, this difference is ascribed to the first choice set obtaining a significantly higher error variance than all succeeding choice sets, suggesting institutional learning rather than preference learning effects underlying the observed ordering effect. This is further supported by the fact that the differences in WTP become insignificant when removing the first choice set from the analysis. We find no evidence of fatigue, and we argue that our findings cannot be explained by starting point or strategic behavior effects.

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Paper provided by University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 470.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: 11 Oct 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0470
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
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  1. Scott J. Savage & Donald M. Waldman, 2008. "Learning and fatigue during choice experiments: a comparison of online and mail survey modes," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(3), pages 351-371.
  2. Ladenburg, Jacob & Olsen, Søren Bøye, 2008. "Gender-specific starting point bias in choice experiments: Evidence from an empirical study," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 275-285, November.
  3. Roy Brouwer & Thijs Dekker & John Rolfe & Jill Windle, 2010. "Choice Certainty and Consistency in Repeated Choice Experiments," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 46(1), pages 93-109, May.
  4. Swait, Joffre & Adamowicz, Wiktor, 2001. " The Influence of Task Complexity on Consumer Choice: A Latent Class Model of Decision Strategy Switching," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(1), pages 135-48, June.
  5. Carson, Richard T & Groves, Theodore, 2010. "Incentive and Information Properties of Preference Questions," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt88d8644g, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  6. Train,Kenneth E., 2009. "Discrete Choice Methods with Simulation," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521747387.
  7. Day, Brett & Pinto Prades, Jose-Luis, 2010. "Ordering anomalies in choice experiments," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 271-285, May.
  8. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:118:y:2003:i:1:p:73-105 is not listed on IDEAS
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