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Scope Elasticity of Willingness to pay in Discrete Choice Experiments

Anders Dugstad, Kristine Grimsrud, Gorm Kipperberg (), Henrik Lindhjem and Stale Navrud ()
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Anders Dugstad: Norwegian University of Life Sciences
Gorm Kipperberg: University of Stavanger
Henrik Lindhjem: Menon Centre for Environmental and Resource Economics

Environmental & Resource Economics, 2021, vol. 80, issue 1, No 2, 57 pages

Abstract: Abstract Sensitivity to scope in nonmarket valuation refers to the property that people are willing to pay more for a higher quality or quantity of a nonmarket public good. Establishing significant scope sensitivity has been an important check of validity and a point of contention for decades in stated preference research, primarily in contingent valuation. Recently, researchers have begun to differentiate between statistical and economic significance. This paper contributes to this line of research by studying the significance of scope effects in discrete choice experiments (DCEs) using the scope elasticity of willingness to pay concept. We first formalize scope elasticity in a DCE context and relate it to economic significance. Next, we review a selection of DCE studies from the environmental valuation literature and derive their implied scope elasticity estimates. We find that scope sensitivity analysis as validity diagnostics is uncommon in the DCE literature and many studies assume unitary elastic scope sensitivity by employing a restrictive functional form in estimation. When more flexible specifications are employed, the tendency is towards inelastic scope sensitivity. Then, we apply the scope elasticity concept to primary DCE data on people’s preferences for expanding the production of renewable energy in Norway. We find that the estimated scope elasticities vary between 0.13 and 0.58, depending on the attribute analyzed, model specification, geographic subsample, and the unit of measurement for a key attribute. While there is no strict and universally applicable benchmark for determining whether scope effects are economically significant, we deem these estimates to be of an adequate and plausible order of magnitude. Implications of the results for future DCE research are provided.

Keywords: Discrete choice experiments; Construct validity; Willingness to pay; Scope test; Elasticity; Economic significance; Stated preferences (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1007/s10640-021-00577-7

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