Is Referendum the Same as Dichotomous Choice Contingent Valuation?

Philippe Polome, Anne van der Veen and Peter Geurts


The NOAA Panel on contingent valuation (Arrow et al. 1993) recommends that the valuation question be cast under the form of a referendum because of incentive properties and familiarity to the respondent. Even though the literature has generally accepted the panel recommendation, it is not clear whether explicitly mentioning a referendum leads to different values than asking a dichotomous (yes/no) question without mentioning any voting process. The results of our specifically designed contingent valuation survey indicate that the estimated willingness to pay is significantly larger when a referendum is explicitly mentioned. (JEL Q51)

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