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Loss aversion, reference dependence and diminishing sensitivity in choice experiments

Anthony Scott and Julia Witt

Journal of choice modelling, 2020, vol. 37, issue C

Abstract: This paper tests for the existence of loss aversion, reference dependence and diminishing sensitivity in a discrete choice experiment (DCE). A status quo alternative is introduced in a DCE of nurses' job choices and modeled as an individual-specific third alternative representing the respondent's current job. This provides a feasible method for including a status quo, which changes the reference point for each respondent. The increased salience of the status quo changes the size of any losses or gains when comparing Job A or Job B with their current situation, and since losses are valued more than gains, affects the marginal utility of each attribute. Models that differentially incorporate loss aversion, reference dependence and changes in sensitivity yield varying estimates of marginal rates of substitution, suggesting that consideration of these effects is important, particularly when policy implications are sought.

Keywords: Diminishing sensitivity; Health workforce; Loss aversion; Reference dependence; Discrete choice experiments (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jocm.2020.100230

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