Kristen L. Kovalsky (email@example.com) is a former graduate student and Jayson L. Lusk (firstname.lastname@example.org) is professor and Willard Sparks Endowed Chair, both in the Department of Agricultural Economics, Oklahoma State University.
Do Consumers Really Know How Much They Are Willing to Pay?
Article first published online: 14 FEB 2013
Copyright 2013 by The American Council on Consumer Interests
Journal of Consumer Affairs
Volume 47, Issue 1, pages 98–127, Spring 2013
How to Cite
KOVALSKY, K. L. and LUSK, J. L. (2013), Do Consumers Really Know How Much They Are Willing to Pay?. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 47: 98–127. doi: 10.1111/joca.12003
- Issue published online: 18 MAR 2013
- Article first published online: 14 FEB 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 10 DEC 2012
- Manuscript Revised: 13 NOV 2012
- Manuscript Received: 20 JUL 2012
Previous research reveals willingness-to-pay (WTP) obtained through consumer surveys and experiments is often influenced by arbitrary information that, from a normative perspective, should have no influence on WTP. This article utilizes data collected from a split-sample online survey to determine whether the bias induced from arbitrary anchors can be mitigated with a preference elicitation approach designed to facilitate the preference-discovery process by revealing tradeoffs and consequences implied by stated WTP. The approach forces internal consistency between statements of value and preference orderings. We compare the WTP elicited using the new approach to two more simplified elicitation devices by determining sensitivity to an arbitrary anchor and by determining predictive validity relative to a holdout choice. Our results indicate that the imposition of internal consistency yields more stable estimates of WTP; however, there is no evidence to support the hypothesis that the method provides WTP estimates that lead to a higher degree of predictive validity.