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Stated Choice Experiments with Complex Ecosystem Changes: The Effect of Information Formats on Estimated Variances and Choice Parameters

  • Biology
  • Ecology


Stated choice experiments about ecosystem changes involve complex information. This study examines whether the format in which ecosystem information is presented to respondents affects stated choice outcomes. Our analysis develops a utility-maximizing model to describe respondent behavior. The model shows how alternative questionnaire formats alter respondents’ use of filtering heuristics and result in differences in preference estimates. Empirical results from a large-scale stated choice experiment confirm that different format presentations of the same information lead to different preference parameter estimates and error variances. A tabular format results in choice parameter estimates with statistically smaller variances than parameters estimated from data obtained with a text-based format. A text-based format also appears to induce greater use of decision heuristics than does a tabular format.

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