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A comparison of responses to single and repeated discrete choice questions

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  • McNair, Ben J.
  • Bennett, Jeff
  • Hensher, David A.

Abstract

According to neoclassical economic theory, a stated preference elicitation format comprising a single binary choice between the status quo and one alternative is incentive compatible under certain conditions. Formats typically used in choice experiments comprising a sequence of discrete choice questions do not hold this property. In this paper, the effect on stated preferences of expanding the number of binary choice tasks per respondent from one to four is tested using a split sample treatment in an attribute-based survey relating to the undergrounding of overhead electricity and telecommunications wires. We find evidence to suggest that presenting multiple choice tasks per respondent decreases estimates of expected willingness to pay. Preferences stated in the first of a sequence of choice tasks are not significantly different from those stated in the incentive compatible single binary choice task, but, in subsequent choice tasks, responses are influenced by cost levels observed in past questions. Three behavioural explanations can be advanced – weak strategic misrepresentation, reference point revision and cost-driven value learning. The evidence is contrary to the standard assumption of truthful response with stable preferences.

Suggested Citation

  • McNair, Ben J. & Bennett, Jeff & Hensher, David A., 2010. "A comparison of responses to single and repeated discrete choice questions," MPRA Paper 23163, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:23163
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    Cited by:

    1. Kragt, Marit Ellen, 2013. "Comparing models of unobserved heterogeneity in environmental choice experiments," Working Papers 144447, University of Western Australia, School of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
    2. Gabriela Scheufele & Jeff Bennett, 2013. "Effects of alternative elicitation formats in discrete choice experiments," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 57(2), pages 214-233, April.
    3. repec:sss:wpaper:201406 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Interis, Matthew & Petrolia, Daniel, 2014. "The Effects of Consequentiality in Binary- and Multinomial-Choice Surveys," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 39(2), pages 1-16.
    5. Matthew Interis & Chang Xu & Daniel Petrolia & Kalyn Coatney, 2016. "Examining unconditional preference revelation in choice experiments: a voting game approach," Journal of Environmental Economics and Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(1), pages 125-142, March.
    6. McNair, Ben J. & Bennett, Jeff & Hensher, David A. & Rose, John M., 2011. "Households' willingness to pay for overhead-to-underground conversion of electricity distribution networks," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 2560-2567, May.
    7. Mahieu, Pierre-Alexandre & Andersson, Henrik & Beaumais, Olivier & Crastes dit Sourd, Romain & Hess, François-Charles & Wolff, François-Charles, 2017. "Stated preferences: a unique database composed of 1657 recent published articles in journals related to agriculture, environment, or health," Review of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Studies, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), vol. 98(3), November.
    8. Jürgen Meyerhoff & Malte Oehlmann & Priska Weller, 2015. "The Influence of Design Dimensions on Stated Choices in an Environmental Context," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 61(3), pages 385-407, July.
    9. McNair, Ben J. & Bennett, Jeff & Hensher, David A., 2010. "Households’ Willingness to Pay for Undergrounding Electricity and Telecommunications Wires," MPRA Paper 23164, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Mikolaj Czajkowski & Anna Barczak & Wiktor Budzinski & Marek Giergiczny & Nick Hanley, 2014. "Within- and between- sample tests of preference stability and willingness to pay for forest management," Discussion Papers in Environment and Development Economics 2014-06, University of St. Andrews, School of Geography and Sustainable Development.
    11. Patrick Lloyd-Smith & Ewa Zawojska & Wiktor Adamowicz, 2020. "Moving beyond the Contingent Valuation versus Choice Experiment Debate: Presentation Effects in Stated Preference," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 96(1), pages 1-24.
    12. Daniel R. Petrolia & Matthew G. Interis & Joonghyun Hwang, 2014. "America's Wetland? A National Survey of Willingness to Pay for Restoration of Louisiana's Coastal Wetlands," Marine Resource Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 17-37.
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    14. Daniel R. Petrolia & Matthew G. Interis & Joonghyun Hwang, 2018. "Single-Choice, Repeated-Choice, and Best-Worst Scaling Elicitation Formats: Do Results Differ and by How Much?," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 69(2), pages 365-393, February.
    15. José Luis Pinto‐Prades & Neil McHugh & Cam Donaldson & Sarkis Manoukian, 2019. "Sequence effects in time trade‐off valuation of hypothetical health states," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(11), pages 1308-1319, November.
    16. Menegaki, Angeliki, N. & Olsen, Søren Bøye & Tsagarakis, Konstantinos P., 2016. "Towards a common standard – A reporting checklist for web-based stated preference valuation surveys and a critique for mode surveys," Journal of choice modelling, Elsevier, vol. 18(C), pages 18-50.
    17. McNair, Ben J. & Hensher, David A. & Bennett, Jeff, 2010. "Modelling heterogeneity in response behaviour towards a sequence of discrete choice questions: a latent class approach," MPRA Paper 23427, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Nguyen, Thanh Cong & Le, Hoa Thu & Nguyen, Hang Dieu & Ngo, Mai Thanh & Nguyen, Hong Quang, 2021. "Examining ordering effects and strategic behaviour in a discrete choice experiment," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 394-413.
    19. Ben McNair & David Hensher & Jeff Bennett, 2012. "Modelling Heterogeneity in Response Behaviour Towards a Sequence of Discrete Choice Questions: A Probabilistic Decision Process Model," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 51(4), pages 599-616, April.
    20. Woo, C.K. & Ho, T. & Shiu, A. & Cheng, Y.S. & Horowitz, I. & Wang, J., 2014. "Residential outage cost estimation: Hong Kong," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 204-210.
    21. Leong, Waiyan & Hensher, David A., 2012. "Embedding multiple heuristics into choice models: An exploratory analysis," Journal of choice modelling, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 131-144.
    22. Jiang, Qi & Penn, Jerrod & Hu, Wuyang, 2023. "Stated and Inferred Precedence-Dependent Ordering Effects in Hypothetical and Real Discrete Choice Experiments," 2023 Annual Meeting, July 23-25, Washington D.C. 335800, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    23. Balbontin, Camila & Hensher, David A. & Collins, Andrew T., 2019. "How to better represent preferences in choice models: The contributions to preference heterogeneity attributable to the presence of process heterogeneity," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 218-248.
    24. Woo, C.K. & Cheng, Y.S. & Law, A. & Zarnikau, J. & Ho, S.T. & Leung, H.Y., 2015. "Consumer support for a public utilities commission in Hong Kong," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 87-97.
    25. Gabriela Scheufele & Jeff Bennett, 2012. "Response Strategies and Learning in Discrete Choice Experiments," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 52(3), pages 435-453, July.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Choice experiment; willingness-to-pay; incentive compatibility; order effects; undergrounding;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L94 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Electric Utilities
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects

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