Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Preference uncertainty in contingent valuation

From the recent Ecological Economics

Abstract: In this paper, the results of empirical studies that applied two widely used methods numerical certainty scale (NCS) and polychotmous choice (PC) - for estimating preference uncertainty adjusted willingness to pay (WTP) in contingent valuation (CV), are summarized. For this review, a number of conclusions are reached. First, there is a lack of consensus about which method is more appropriate for measuring preference uncertainty. Second, although preference uncertainty information has been found useful in detecting the incidence of hypothetical bias in CV studies, a consensus about a standard certainty threshold (or treatment mechanism) at which hypothetical behaviour converges to real behaviour is yet to emerge. Third, insufficient empirical evidence exists about the causal relationship between preference uncertainty scores and the theoretically expected explanatory variables. Finally, the preference uncertainty adjusted PC and NCS models fail to provide a consistent and more efficient welfare estimate compared to the conventional dichotomous choice certainty model.

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