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The effects of emotions on preferences and choices for public goods

Author

Listed:
  • Christopher Boyce

    () (Management School,University of Stirling, Scotland, UK)

  • Mikolaj Czajkowski

    () (University of Warsaw, Department of Economic Sciences, Poland)

  • Nick Hanley

    () (Department of Geography and Sustainable Development, University of St. Andrews)

  • Charles Noussair

    () (Department of Economics, Tilburg University, the Netherlands)

  • Michael Townsend

    (National Institute for Water and Atmosphere Ltd, Hamilton, New Zealand)

  • Steve Tucker

    () (School of Management, University of Waikato, New Zealand)

Abstract

This paper tests whether changes in “incidental emotions” lead to changes in economic choices. Incidental emotions are experienced at the time of an economic decision but are not part of the payoff from a particular choice. As such, the standard economic model predicts that incidental emotions should not affect behavior, yet many papers in the behavioral science and psychology literatures find evidence of such effects. In this paper, we used a standard procedure to induce different incidental emotional states in respondents, and then carried out a choice experiment on changes to an environmental good (beach quality). We estimated preferences for this environmental good and willingness to pay for changes in this good, and tested whether these were dependent on the particular emotional state induced. We also tested whether choices became more or less random when emotional states were induced, based on the notion of randomness in a standard random utility model. Contrary to our a-priori hypothesis we found no significant evidence of treatment effects, implying that economists need not worry about the effects of variations in incidental emotions on preferences and the randomness of choice, even when there is measured (induced) variation in these emotions.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher Boyce & Mikolaj Czajkowski & Nick Hanley & Charles Noussair & Michael Townsend & Steve Tucker, 2015. "The effects of emotions on preferences and choices for public goods," Discussion Papers in Environment and Development Economics 2015-08, University of St. Andrews, School of Geography and Sustainable Development.
  • Handle: RePEc:sss:wpaper:2015-08
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard H, 1986. "Fairness and the Assumptions of Economics," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages 285-300, October.
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    7. Matthew Rabin, 1998. "Psychology and Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 11-46, March.
    8. Christie, Michael & Hanley, Nick & Hynes, Stephen, 2007. "Valuing enhancements to forest recreation using choice experiment and contingent behaviour methods," Journal of Forest Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2-3), pages 75-102, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Martin G. Kocher & Peter Martinsson & Kristian Ove R. Myrseth & Conny E. Wollbrant, 2017. "Strong, bold, and kind: self-control and cooperation in social dilemmas," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 20(1), pages 44-69, March.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    choice experiments; behavioral economics; ecosystem services; emotions; rationality;

    JEL classification:

    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects
    • Q57 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Ecological Economics
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D87 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Neuroeconomics

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