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Hypothetical bias in stated choice experiments Part II Macro-scale analysis of literature and effectiveness of bias mitigation methods

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Document pages: 39 pages

Abstract: This paper reviews methods of hypothetical bias (HB) mitigation in choiceexperiments (CEs). It presents a bibliometric analysis and summary of empiricalevidence of their effectiveness. The paper follows the review of empiricalevidence on the existence of HB presented in Part I of this study. While thenumber of CE studies has rapidly increased since 2010, the critical issue of HBhas been studied in only a small fraction of CE studies. The present reviewincludes both ex-ante and ex-post bias mitigation methods. Ex-ante biasmitigation methods include cheap talk, real talk, consequentiality scripts,solemn oath scripts, opt-out reminders, budget reminders, honesty priming,induced truth telling, indirect questioning, time to think and pivot designs.Ex-post methods include follow-up certainty calibration scales, respondentperceived consequentiality scales, and revealed-preference-assisted estimation.It is observed that the use of mitigation methods markedly varies acrossdifferent sectors of applied economics. The existing empirical evidence pointsto their overall effectives in reducing HB, although there is some variation.The paper further discusses how each mitigation method can counter a certainsubset of HB sources. Considering the prevalence of HB in CEs and theeffectiveness of bias mitigation methods, it is recommended that implementationof at least one bias mitigation method (or a suitable combination wherepossible) becomes standard practice in conducting CEs. Mitigation method(s)suited to the particular application should be implemented to ensure thatinferences and subsequent policy decisions are as much as possible free of HB.

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