Choice certainty and deliberative thinking in discrete choice experiments.

Choice certainty and deliberative thinking in discrete choice experiments. A theoretical and empirical investigation

Stated preference research is criticised because respondents to hypothetical surveys may not engage with the task. Decision certainty has been used to measure task engagement. Researchers assume that respondents who make decisions about which they are certain have well-defined preferences and provide more reliable responses. In the case of DCE, we argue that the variability of response certainty is also important. We present a novel framework to identify thoughtful / deliberative respondents. The framework combines respondents’ decision certainty with the variability in respondents’ decision certainty across a set of choice tasks. We test our framework empirically using data from two case studies. We find respondents with higher certainty variability seldom use decision heuristics, are more likely to have monotonic preferences, and have longer response times. We then incorporate mean decision certainty and variability into econometric models of choice to provide more precise estimates of individuals' preferences. We find that a re-weighting function that includes variability improves the precision of welfare estimates up to 69%.

Outcome and Translation

Respondents with higher certainty variability seldom use decision heuristics, are more likely to have monotonic preferences, and have longer response times. A re-weighting function that includes variability improves the precision of welfare estimates up to 69%.

HERU researchers involved in this research project: Verity Watson

External collaborators:  Reiger, D. (British Columbia Cancer Research Agency and University of British Columbia); Sicsic, J. (Paris Descartes University Institute of Technology)

Publications

Regier, D.A., Sicsic, J. and Watson, V. (2019) 'Choice certainty and deliberative thinking in discrete choice experiments. A theoretical and empirical investigation', Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 164, 235-255.

Presentations:

Sicsic, J., Regier, D. and Watson, V. (2017) 'Choice certainty and deliberative thinking in discrete choice experiments. A theoretical and empirical investigation', Vancouver Health Economics Methodology (VanHEM) Meeting, Segal Conference Rooms, Harbour Centre, Vancouver, Canada, 16 June 2017.

Sicsic, J., Regier, D. and Watson, V. (2017) 'Choice certainty and deliberative thinking in discrete choice experiments. A theoretical and empirical investigation', Workshop on Non-Market Valuation (WONV), University of Leeds, Leeds, England, 26-27 June 2017.

Regier, D., Sicsic, J. and Watson, V. (2017) 'Choice certainty and deliberative thinking in discrete choice experiments. A theoretical and empirical investigation', Health Economists' Study Group (HESG) Summer Meeting, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, 28-30 June 2017.

Watson, V., Regier, D. and Sicsic, J. (2018) 'Choice certainty and deliberative thinking in discrete choice experiments. A theoretical and empirical investigation', 12th European Conference on Health Economics (EuHEA), Maastricht, The Netherlands, 11-14 July 2018.