Endogenous Consequentiality in Stated Preference Referendum Data: The Influence of the Randomly Assigned Tax Amount

Peter A. Groothuis, Tanga M. Mohr, John C. Whitehead and Kristan Cockerill


Recent empirical and theoretical research stresses it is important for survey respondents to believe that survey votes are consequential, meaning their votes can potentially influence whether a proposed policy is undertaken. We test the effect of a randomly assigned referendum tax on consequentiality, using a survey about water conservation in western North Carolina. We find that consequentiality is endogenous to hypothetical referendum responses. Specifically, as the assigned tax amount increases, respondents are less likely to find the survey consequential. As in related studies, respondents who self-report they perceive the survey to be consequential have a higher willingness to pay. (JEL Q25, Q51)

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