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Alternative Value Elicitation Formats in Contingent Valuation: A New Hope

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Abstract

The single binary choice (SBC), referendum format has long been the recommended approach for eliciting values in stated preference surveys, based on respondent familiarity and incentive compatibility arguments. Nevertheless, researchers and practitioners commonly use alternative elicitation formats, and defend their design choices on the basis of efficiency or other criterion. While we are agnostic as to what format is best, in this paper we seek to advance the idea that incentive compatible elicitation using alternative formats is possible, and that designing surveys through the lens of theory can be beneficial. We highlight this paradigm by identifying a set of conditions under which two continuous response formats – purely open-ended (OE) questions and payment cards (PCs) – are incentive compatible. We then implement theory-informed value elicitations in the context of a flood control policy for New York City. We fail to reject convergent validity when comparing the theory-driven OE format with SBC, but reject convergent validity between the theory-driven PC and SBC formats. As an informative counterfactual, we find that a “standard” OE elicitation congruent with prior work leads to significantly lower values and a lower proportion of respondents who view the elicitation as consequential.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Vossler & J. Scott Holladay, 2016. "Alternative Value Elicitation Formats in Contingent Valuation: A New Hope," Working Papers 2016-02, University of Tennessee, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ten:wpaper:2016-02
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    File URL: http://web.utk.edu/~jhollad3/2016-02.pdf
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    1. Christian A. Vossler & Maurice Doyon & Daniel Rondeau, 2012. "Truth in Consequentiality: Theory and Field Evidence on Discrete Choice Experiments," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 145-171, November.
    2. Timothy C. Haab & Ju-Chin Huang & John C. Whitehead, 1999. "Are Hypothetical Referenda Incentive Compatible? A Comment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(1), pages 186-196, February.
    3. Jeffrey M Wooldridge, 2010. "Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262232588, January.
    4. Catherine L. Kling & Daniel J. Phaneuf & Jinhua Zhao, 2012. "From Exxon to BP: Has Some Number Become Better Than No Number?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(4), pages 3-26, Fall.
    5. Herriges, Joseph & Kling, Catherine & Liu, Chih-Chen & Tobias, Justin, 2010. "What are the consequences of consequentiality?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 67-81, January.
    6. Johnston, Robert J., 2006. "Is hypothetical bias universal? Validating contingent valuation responses using a binding public referendum," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 469-481, July.
    7. Messer, Kent D. & Poe, Gregory L. & Rondeau, Daniel & Schulze, William D. & Vossler, Christian A., 2010. "Social preferences and voting: An exploration using a novel preference revealing mechanism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(3-4), pages 308-317, April.
    8. Botzen, W.J.W. & van den Bergh, J.C.J.M., 2012. "Risk attitudes to low-probability climate change risks: WTP for flood insurance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 151-166.
    9. Patricia A. Champ & Richard C. Bishop, 2006. "Is Willingness to Pay for a Public Good Sensitive to the Elicitation Format?," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 82(2), pages 162-173.
    10. Erik Bichard & Aleksandra Kazmierczak, 2012. "Are homeowners willing to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change?," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 112(3), pages 633-654, June.
    11. Richard T. Carson & Theodore Groves & John A. List, 2014. "Consequentiality: A Theoretical and Experimental Exploration of a Single Binary Choice," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 171-207.
    12. Vossler, Christian A. & Watson, Sharon B., 2013. "Understanding the consequences of consequentiality: Testing the validity of stated preferences in the field," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 137-147.
    13. Vossler, Christian A. & Evans, Mary F., 2009. "Bridging the gap between the field and the lab: Environmental goods, policy maker input, and consequentiality," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 338-345, November.
    14. W. J. Wouter Botzen & Jeroen C. J. M. Van Den Bergh, 2012. "Monetary Valuation Of Insurance Against Flood Risk Under Climate Change," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 53(3), pages 1005-1026, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ewa Zawojska & Pierre-Alexandre Mahieu & Romain Crastes & Jordan Louviere, 2016. "On a way to overcome strategic overbidding in open-ended stated preference surveys: A recoding approach," Working Papers 2016-34, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.
    2. Czajkowski, Mikołaj & Ahtiainen, Heini & Artell, Janne & Meyerhoff, Jürgen, 2017. "Choosing a Functional Form for an International Benefit Transfer: Evidence from a Nine-country Valuation Experiment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 104-113.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    contingent valuation; mechanism design; field experiment; flood protection;

    JEL classification:

    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments

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