Task complexity and response certainty in discrete choice experiments

Task complexity and response certainty in discrete choice experiments

This study explores the behavioural and statistical links between utility balance and cognitive burden in discrete choice experiments (DCEs) by examining the relationship between respondents’ stated certainty about their DCE responses and the statistical precision of the econometric model. DCE experimental design emphasises utility balance across choice task alternatives, but this increases task complexity and respondents’ cognitive burden. A consequence of task complexity is response error, which increases response variability and decreases statistical efficiency.

Outcome and Translation

We find that increases in choice task utility balance decreases response certainty, and re-weighting the regression to favour respondents who are more uncertain of their choices increases the statistical precision of the econometric model.

HERU researchers involved in this research project: Verity Watson

External collaborators: H Burnett, W Ungar (The Hospital for Sick Kids, Toronto, Canada) and D Regier (University of British Columbia, Canada)

Publications

Regier, D. A., Watson, V., Burnett, H. and Ungar, W. J. (2014) 'Task complexity and response certainty in discrete choice experiments: an application to drug treatments for Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis', Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, 50, 40-49.