Strategic behaviour in choice experiments.

Susan Chilton, Katherine Silz Carson , George Hutchinson

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Practitioners of environmental economics sometimes use repeated trinary choice experiment surveys to estimate the value of environmental policies and programs for use in policy evaluation. These surveys have several advantages over simpler forms of non-market valuation: (1) researchers can estimate the marginal value of attributes of the good or service in question, making the results useful for benefits transfer; and (2) because respondents make several choices and choose from choice sets containing three options, efficiency of the willingness to pay estimate is improved over one-shot, binary choice formats. Despite these benefits, such surveys may have incentive properties which cause the resulting value estimates to be biased. This paper presents a theoretical demonstration that subjects often have an incentive to choose the second-best option in a repeated trinary choice survey. The model shows that due to the nature of factorial choice set design, the second-best option in the choice set will often be the status quo option. The paper reports a set of experiments designed to test these theoretical predictions in an induced-value setting. The experimental results are consistent with the theoretical predictions, demonstrating that repeated trinary choice experiment surveys can generate biased value estimates under a wide range of conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages45
Publication statusPublished - 02 Jul 2014
Event5th World Congress of Environmental and Resource Economists - Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: 28 Jun 201402 Jul 2014


Conference5th World Congress of Environmental and Resource Economists


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