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Testing for saliency-led choice behavior in discrete choice modeling: An application in the context of preferences towards nuclear energy in Italy

Davide Contu and Elisabetta Strazzera

Journal of choice modelling, 2022, vol. 44, issue C

Abstract: This work proposes a discrete choice model that jointly accounts for heterogeneity in preferences and in decision making procedures adopted by respondents, as well as for non-linearities in the utility function, allowing for the potential effect of salient attributes in choice experiments. We present an innovative application in the context of preferences towards nuclear energy, with data obtained from a nationwide online survey conducted in Italy. Results show that most of the variation in the choice data is indeed due to heterogeneity in the decision process, where the saliency heuristic plays an important role. Furthermore, the proposed model provides more conservative monetary valuations as opposed to standard models, potentially leading to substantial differences in cost-benefit analysis. Implications for choice modeling practitioners are discussed, emphasizing the need to account for saliency effects when modeling the choice data.

Keywords: Discrete choice; Heuristics; LC-RPL model; Nuclear energy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jocm.2022.100370

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