Preference Elicitation Under Oath

39 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2011 Last revised: 25 Jun 2013

See all articles by Nicolas Jacquemet

Nicolas Jacquemet

Paris School of Economics (PSE); Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne

Bobert-Vincent Joulé

Universities of Marseille - University of Provence - Aix-Marseille I

Stephane Luchini

National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) - Research Group in Quantitative Saving (GREQAM), EHESS

Jason F. Shogren

University of Wyoming

Date Written: November 5, 2010

Abstract

Eliciting sincere preferences for non-market goods remains a challenge due to hypothetical bias – the gap between hypothetical monetary values and real economic commitments. The gap arises because people either overstate hypothetical values or understate real commitments or a combination of both. Herein we examine whether the traditional real-world institution of the solemn oath can improve preference elicitation. Applying the social psychology theory on the oath as a truth-telling-commitment device, we ask our bidders to swear on their honour to give honest answers prior to participating in an incentive-compatible second-price auction. The oath is an ancillary mechanism to commit bidders to bid sincerely in a second-price auction. Results from our induced valuation testbed treatments suggest the oath-only auctions outperform all other auctions (real and hypothetical). In our homegrown valuation treatments eliciting preferences for dolphin protection, the oath-only design induced people to treat as binding both their budget constraint (i.e., lower values on the high end of the value distribution) and participation constraint (i.e., positive values in place of the zero bids used to opt out of auction). Based on companion treatments, we show the oath works through an increase in the willingness to tell the truth, due to a strengthening of the intrinsic motivation to do so.

Keywords: Oath, Commitment, Vickrey auction, Hypothetical Bias, Induced Values, Homegrown Values

JEL Classification: C9, H4, Q5

Suggested Citation

Jacquemet, Nicolas and Joulé, Bobert-Vincent and Luchini, Stephane and Shogren, Jason F., Preference Elicitation Under Oath (November 5, 2010). Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Vol. 65, No. 1, 2013, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1803658 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1803658

Nicolas Jacquemet

Paris School of Economics (PSE) ( email )

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014 75014
France

Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne ( email )

17, rue de la Sorbonne
Paris, 75005
France

HOME PAGE: http://www.nicolasjacquemet.com/

Bobert-Vincent Joulé

Universities of Marseille - University of Provence - Aix-Marseille I ( email )

3, avenue Robert Schuman
Aix-en-Provence, 13100
France

Stephane Luchini

National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) - Research Group in Quantitative Saving (GREQAM), EHESS ( email )

Centre de la Vieille Charité
2, rue de la Charité
Marseille, 13002
France

Jason F. Shogren (Contact Author)

University of Wyoming ( email )

Department of Economics
BU292
Laramie, WY 82071-3985
United States
307-766-5430 (Phone)
307-766-5090 (Fax)

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