My dissertation, written under the direction Glenn Blomquist in 1989, considered whether information about alternative environmental goods was missing from contingent valuation (CV) scenarios. Subsequently we received funding to consider whether the CV method could distinguish amongst quality differentiated environmental goods. The paper got beat around a bit but eventually Blomquist and Whitehead (1998) was published. It turns out to be my second most cited paper. Here is the abstract:
Elicitation of valid statements of contingent value requires survey participants who are familiar with the environmental resource change. A primary purpose of the contingent market must be to assure familiarity by providing information. Information about resource quality is important when incompletely informed respondents, say nonusers, perceive resource quality which diverges from true quality. Differences in perceived quality and true quality can be influenced as respondents learn from information in the contingent market. By presenting survey participants with information about four wetlands of varying qualities we test for information effects in a dichotomous choice contingent market for wetlands allocation. We find that information about quality is a determinant of willingness to pay for wetland preservation. Information about resource quality presented in contingent markets will result in more valid valuations of changes in allocations of environmental resources.
During a navel gazing session I ran across this:
I don't think Glenn nor I walked away from Blomquist and Whitehead (1998) "suspicious" about the validity of the CV method. I've always wanted to be cited in the same parenthetical as Hausman (2012), for example, like this (Hausman 2012, Haab et al. 2013), but this one makes me feel yucky. For once, I wish one of my papers wasn't cited.