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Cognitive dissonance as a means of reducing hypothetical bias

Frode Alfnes, Chengyan Yue and Helen Jensen ()

European Review of Agricultural Economics, 2010, vol. 37, issue 2, 147-163

Abstract: Hypothetical bias is a persistent problem in stated preference studies. We propose and test a method for reducing hypothetical bias based on the cognitive dissonance literature in social psychology. A central element of this literature is that people prefer not to take inconsistent stands and will change their attitudes and behaviour to make them consistent. We find that participants in a stated preference willingness-to-pay study, when told that a nonhypothetical study of similar goods would follow, state significantly lower willingness to pay (WTP) than participants not so informed. In other words, participants adjust their stated WTP to avoid cognitive dissonance, that is, taking inconsistent stands on their WTP for the good being offered. Oxford University Press and Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics 2010; all rights reserved. For permissions, please email journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org, Oxford University Press.

Date: 2010
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Working Paper: Cognitive Dissonance As a Means of Reducing Hypothetical Bias (2010) Downloads
Working Paper: Cognitive dissonance as a means of reducing hypothetical bias (2010) Downloads
Working Paper: Cognitive Dissonance as a Means of Reducing Hypothetical Bias (2009) Downloads
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European Review of Agricultural Economics is currently edited by Christoph Weiss, Thomas Heckelei and Paolo Sckokai

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