Improving scope sensitivity in contingent valuation: Joint and separate evaluation of health states

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Abstract

We present data of a contingent valuation survey, testing the effect of evaluation mode on the monetary valuation of preventing road accidents. Half of the interviewees was asked to state their willingness to pay (WTP) to reduce the risk of having only 1 type of injury (separate evaluation, SE), and the other half of the sample was asked to state their WTP for 4 types of injuries evaluated simultaneously (joint evaluation, JE). In the SE group, we observed lack of sensitivity to scope while in the JE group WTP increased with the severity of the injury prevented. However, WTP values in this group were subject to context effects. Our results suggest that the traditional explanation of the disparity between SE and JE, namely, the so-called “evaluability,” does not apply here. The paper presents new explanations based on the role of preference imprecision.

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