A nonexperimental test of the contingent valuation method : comparing hypothetical and actual voting behavior Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/8049g7454

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  • This study compares the results of a contingent valuation (CV) mail survey and the voting outcome of a bond measure to fund improvements, through property tax increases, to a downtown park and adjacent riverbank in Corvallis, Oregon. In addition to asking survey respondents about their voting decision, respondents are presented with a dichotomous choice CV (DC-CV) question regarding the same project. The DC-CV question mimics a typical CV question, as it involves a random pricing structure and a hypothetical policy. However, the subject of the DC-CV question is the same as a known referendum. Responses to both valuation questions are nonbinding. In this study, survey referendum responses closely match the actual voting outcome and willingness to pay (WTP) estimates based on survey referendum responses and precinct-level voting results are not statistically different. WTP based on DC-CV responses match WTP based on actual voting behavior only when the survey sample is restricted to respondents that face a random bid price that is close to the proposed tax increase. Otherwise, the WTP based on DC-CV responses is lower than WTP based on voting behavior. A comparison of responses between the two valuation questions suggests that respondents made rational choices with regards to relative prices in the hypothetical scenario. Tangential CV issues, such as the treatment of "undecided" responses and detection of yea-saying in dichotomous choice responses are also explored.
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