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Household versus individual valuation: what’s the difference?



Standard practice in stated preference typically blurs the distinction between household and individual responses, but without a clear theoretical or empirical justification for this approach. To date there have been no empirical tests of whether values for say a two adult household elicited by interviewing one randomly selected adult are the same as the values generated by interviewing both adults simultaneously. Using cohabiting couples, we conduct a choice experiment field study valuing reductions in dietary health risks. In one treatment a random individual is chosen from the couple and interviewed alone; in the other treatment, both partners are questioned jointly. We find significant differences in household values calculated from joint as opposed to individual responses, with further variation between the values elicited from men and women. Our results question the assumption, implicit in common practice, that differences between individually and jointly elicited estimates of household values can effectively be ignored.

Suggested Citation

  • Alistair Munro & Ian J. Bateman, 2006. "Household versus individual valuation: what’s the difference?," Royal Holloway, University of London: Discussion Papers in Economics 06/02, Department of Economics, Royal Holloway University of London, revised Feb 2006.
  • Handle: RePEc:hol:holodi:0602

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. M. Browning & P. A. Chiappori, 1998. "Efficient Intra-Household Allocations: A General Characterization and Empirical Tests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(6), pages 1241-1278, November.
    2. Louviere,Jordan J. & Hensher,David A. & Swait,Joffre D. With contributions by-Name:Adamowicz,Wiktor, 2000. "Stated Choice Methods," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521788304, March.
    3. David Hensher & Nina Shore & Kenneth Train, 2005. "Households’ Willingness to Pay for Water Service Attributes," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 32(4), pages 509-531, December.
    4. Dupont, Diane P., 2004. "Do children matter? An examination of gender differences in environmental valuation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 273-286, July.
    5. Ian Bateman & Alistair Munro, 2005. "An Experiment on Risky Choice Amongst Households," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(502), pages 176-189, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kannika Thampanishvong, 2013. "Determinants of Flash Flood Evacuation Choices and Assessment of Preferences for Flash Flood Warning Channels: The Case of Thailand," EEPSEA Research Report rr2013034, Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia (EEPSEA), revised Mar 2013.
    2. Ahlheim, Michael & Schneider, Friedrich, 2013. "Considering Household Size in Contingent Valuation Studies," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79974, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    3. André Palma & Nathalie Picard & Anthony Ziegelmeyer, 2011. "Individual and couple decision behavior under risk: evidence on the dynamics of power balance," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 70(1), pages 45-64, January.
    4. Wiktor Adamowicz & Mark Dickie & Shelby Gerking & Marcella Veronesi & David Zinner, 2014. "Household Decision Making and Valuation of Environmental Health Risks to Parents and Their Children," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(4), pages 481-519.
    5. Lindhjem, Henrik, 2007. "20 years of stated preference valuation of non-timber benefits from Fennoscandian forests: A meta-analysis," Journal of Forest Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 251-277, February.
    6. Yiannis Kountouris & Kyriaki Remoundou, 2016. "Cultural Influence on Preferences and Attitudes for Environmental Quality," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(2), pages 369-397, May.
    7. Henrik Lindhjem & Ståle Navrud, 2009. "Asking for Individual or Household Willingness to Pay for Environmental Goods?," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 43(1), pages 11-29, May.
    8. Martina Menon & Federico Perali & Marcella Veronesi, 2014. "Recovering Individual Preferences for Non-Market Goods: A Collective Travel-Cost Model," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 96(2), pages 438-457.
    9. Schröder, Melanie & Schmitt, Norma & Heynemann, Britta & Brünn, Claudia, 2013. "Income Taxation and Labor Supply: An Experiment on Couple's Work Effort," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79735, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    10. Gonzalez Ramirez, M. Jimena & Meriggi, Niccolo, 2016. "A Study of Intra-household and Gender Differences in Risk Preferences and Their Effect on Household Investment Decisions in Rural Cameroon," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 236078, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    11. Evans, Mary F. & Poulos, Christine & Kerry Smith, V., 2011. "Who counts in evaluating the effects of air pollution policies on households? Non-market valuation in the presence of dependencies," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 65-79, July.
    12. Goode, Alison & Mavromaras, Kostas G. & Smith, Murray, 2008. "Intergenerational Transmission of Healthy Eating Behaviour and the Role of Household Income," IZA Discussion Papers 3535, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Demont, Matty & Rutsaert, Pieter & Ndour, Maimouna & Verbeke, Wim & Seck, Papa Abdoulaye & Tollens, Eric, 2012. "Experimental auctions, collective induction and choice shift: Willingness-to-pay for rice quality in Senegal," 2012 Conference, August 18-24, 2012, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil 126861, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    14. Schröder, Melanie & Schmitt, Norma & Mantei, Britta & Brünn, Claudia, 2014. "Social Norms or Income Taxation - What Drives Couple's Labor Supply? Experimental Evidence," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100375, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    15. Melanie Schröder & Norma Burow, 2016. "Couple's Labor Supply, Taxes, and the Division of Housework in a Gender-Neutral Lab," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1593, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.

    More about this item


    Household values; choice experiment; contingent valuation; food and health risks;

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General

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