Inderscience Publishers

Rethinking contingent valuation: ethics versus defensibility?

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Designers of stated preference studies have placed emphasis in recent years on ensuring that questionnaires are defensible, and that all "hypothetical" elements are removed. A potential problem with this emphasis is that it can unwittingly increase the hypothetical nature of the survey as well as necessitating the use of ethically questionable statements. An alternative approach is recommended that is ethically better and potentially less susceptible to hypothetical bias. This approach is demonstrated using three case studies. The results indicate that designing questionnaires in an ethically neutral manner does not automatically lead to poorer quality models.

Keywords: contingent valuation, choice modelling, ethics, non-market valuation

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