How people respond to contingent valuation questions: A verbal protocol analysis of willingness to pay for an environmental regulation
This paper investigates what a respondent is thinking when answering a willingness-to-pay question in a contingent valuation, using a "think aloud" technique from psychology called verbal protocol analysis. The willingness-to-pay responses we observed seem to be constructed from a variety of considerations, including an obligation to pay a fair share of the cost of the solution and signaling concern for a larger set of environmental issues. The finding that respondents seem to construct their values at the time they are asked, rather than reporting a more well-defined value, is seen as consistent with over two decades of research on the psychology of decision making. Potential uses of verbal protocols in contingent valuation studies are also discussed. © 1994 by Academic Press, Inc.
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