Behavioral implications of providing real incentives in stated choice experiments

Behavioral implications of providing real incentives in stated choice experiments

Abstract

This paper explores the potential impacts of introducing real economic incentives in choice experiments (CE). While many others have investigated such impacts before, the majority of the literature has focused solely on mitigation of hypothetical bias. We contribute to this literature by widening the scope of research to other behavioral aspects where consumers in CE are often found to deviate from homo economicus. We develop a theoretical model where not only Willingness to pay (WTP) measures but also decision processing can be affected by the introduction of an economic incentive. Specifically, our model allows for differential impacts on attribute processing, depending on the character of the attribute as well as self-image effects. In an empirical CE survey, we find some, though not unequivocal, support of our model. Even though we find no impact on WTP from introducing an economic incentive, we find marked benefits in relation to a number of behavioral aspects that together would favor the use of an economic incentive regardless of hypothetical bias being present or not.

Publication
Journal of Economic Psychology, 45: 102-116