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An investigation of individual preferences: consistency across incentives and stability over time

Author

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  • Emmanouil Mentzakis
  • Jingjing Zhang

Abstract

This study compares individual preferences across incentives (i.e., hypothetical vs. real incentives) and over time (i.e. elicitation at two different points in time) in a choice experiment involving charitable donating decisions. We provide evidence of hypothetical bias but little evidence of instability of individual giving. There is significant heterogeneity in individual preferences, with real incentives either dampening or pronouncing the observed donating behaviour. Neither hypothetical bias nor instability is observed when we examine the propensity of individuals to make internally consistent decisions over identical choices.

Suggested Citation

  • Emmanouil Mentzakis & Jingjing Zhang, 2012. "An investigation of individual preferences: consistency across incentives and stability over time," ECON - Working Papers 070, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:zur:econwp:070
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    File URL: http://www.econ.uzh.ch/static/wp/econwp070.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Mørkbak, Morten Raun & Olsen, Søren Bøye & Campbell, Danny, 2014. "Behavioral implications of providing real incentives in stated choice experiments," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 102-116.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Individual preference; hypothetical bias; time inconsistency; discrete choice experiments; charitable donations;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General

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