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Willingness-to-Pay, Compensating Variation, and the Cost of Commitment

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Abstract

The authors present a dynamic model of an agent's decision to purchase or sell a good under the following conditions: uncertainty, irreversibility, and learning over time. As the authors show, an agent's willingness-to-pay (WTP) is influenced by both the intrinsic value of the good and the commitment cost associated with delaying the decision until more information is available. Consequently, the standard Hicksian equivalence between WTP and compensating and equivalent variation no longer holds. This finding has important practical implications because it implies that observed WTP values are not always appropriate for welfare analysis.

Suggested Citation

  • Jinhua Zhao & Catherine L. Kling, 2000. "Willingness-to-Pay, Compensating Variation, and the Cost of Commitment," Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications 00-wp251, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.
  • Handle: RePEc:ias:cpaper:00-wp251
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Cheng Fang & John C. Beghin, 2000. "Food Self-Sufficiency, Comparative Advantage, and Agricultural Trade: A Policy Analysis Matrix for Chinese Agriculture," Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) Publications 99-wp223, Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) at Iowa State University.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tunçel, Tuba & Hammitt, James K., 2014. "A new meta-analysis on the WTP/WTA disparity," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 175-187.
    2. Zhao, Jinhua & Kling, Catherine L., 2006. "Environmental Valuation under Dynamic Consumer Behavior," ISU General Staff Papers 200609270700001316, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    3. Zhao, Jinhua & Kling, Catherine L., 2001. "A new explanation for the WTP/WTA disparity," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 73(3), pages 293-300, December.
    4. Krüger, Niclas A & Svensson, Mikael, 2007. "The Impact of Real Options on Willingness to Pay for Investments in Road Safety," Working Papers 2007:9, Örebro University, School of Business, revised 17 Oct 2008.
    5. Wiktor L. Adamowicz, 2004. "What's it worth? An examination of historical trends and future directions in environmental valuation," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 48(3), pages 419-443, September.
    6. Richard T. Carson, 2011. "Contingent Valuation," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 2489.
    7. Araña, Jorge E. & León, Carmelo J., 2013. "Dynamic hypothetical bias in discrete choice experiments: Evidence from measuring the impact of corporate social responsibility on consumers demand," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 53-61.
    8. Laurent Muller & Bernard Ruffieux, 2011. "Do price-tags influence consumers’ willingness to pay? On the external validity of using auctions for measuring value," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 14(2), pages 181-202, May.
    9. Sebastian Lehmann, 2014. "Toward an Understanding of the BDM: Predictive Validity, Gambling Effects, and Risk Attitude," FEMM Working Papers 150001, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management.
    10. Catherine L. Kling & John A. List & Jinhua Zhao, 2013. "A Dynamic Explanation Of The Willingness To Pay And Willingness To Accept Disparity," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 909-921, January.
    11. Knetsch Jack L. & Riyanto Yohanes E. & Zong Jichuan, 2012. "Gain and Loss Domains and the Choice of Welfare Measure of Positive and Negative Changes," Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, De Gruyter, vol. 3(4), pages 1-20, December.
    12. Krüger, Niclas A. & Svensson, Mikael, 2009. "The impact of real options on willingness to pay for mortality risk reductions," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 563-569, May.
    13. Baylis, Katherine R. & Vercammen, James, 2006. "Scientific Uncertainty and Climate Change Policy," 2006 Annual meeting, July 23-26, Long Beach, CA 21267, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    14. Jay Corrigan, 2005. "Is the Experimental Auction a Dynamic Market?," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 31(1), pages 35-45, May.
    15. Jinhua Zhao & Catherine L. Kling, 2002. "Environmental Valuation under Dynamic," Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications 02-wp292, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.
    16. John A. List & Michael K. Price, 2013. "Using Field Experiments in Environmental and Resource Economics," NBER Working Papers 19289, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Richard Carson & Theodore Groves, 2007. "Incentive and informational properties of preference questions," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, pages 181-210.
    18. Arthur E. Attema & Werner B.F. Brouwer & Job Van Exel, 2014. "Your Right Arm For A Publication In Aer?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(1), pages 495-502, January.
    19. Jay Corrigan & Catherine Kling & Jinhua Zhao, 2008. "Willingness to Pay and the Cost of Commitment: An Empirical Specification and Test," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 40(2), pages 285-298, June.
    20. Balié, Jean & Magrini, Emiliano & Morales Opazo, Cristian, 2016. "Cereal price shocks and volatility in Sub-Saharan Africa: What does really matter for farmers' welfare?," DARE Discussion Papers 1607, Georg-August University of Göttingen, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development (DARE).
    21. repec:bla:ecinqu:v:55:y:2017:i:1:p:383-396 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. van Exel, N.J.A. & Brouwer, W.B.F. & van den Berg, B. & Koopmanschap, M.A., 2006. "With a little help from an anchor: Discussion and evidence of anchoring effects in contingent valuation," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 836-853, October.
    23. Jay R. Corrigan & Catharine L. Kling & Jinhua Zhao, 2006. "The Dynamic Formation of Willingness to Pay: An Empirical Specification and Test," Working Papers 0603, Kenyon College, Department of Economics.
    24. Lusk, Jayson L. & Norwood, F. Bailey, 2009. "Bridging the gap between laboratory experiments and naturally occurring markets: An inferred valuation method," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 236-250, September.
    25. Nababan, Tongam Sihol & Simanjuntak, Juara, 2008. "Aplikasi Willingness To Pay Sebagai Proksi Terhadap Variabel Harga: Suatu Model Empirik Dalam Estimasi Permintaan Energi Listrik Rumah Tangga
      [The Application of Willingness To Pay As A Proxy To Va
      ," MPRA Paper 49155, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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