Hey fisheries/econ people, is contingent valuation really on the way out? What's replacing it?— Michael C. Russell (@ProfRussellCIE) October 20, 2017
I went on a rant (the kids call it a "tweet storm") and since I don't know how to thread my tweets (and I don't want to lose them when Congress shuts down twitter) I thought I'd post them here (with spell check turned on). Tim was also in on it. This happened after I presented a paper using "discrete choice experiment" (DCE) data in Tim's department (that was fun!) so the thing was on our minds.
Here we go:
- John: Yes, CVM is out. And “discrete choice experiments” are in. And, they are the same thing (under certain conditions)!
- John: They are the same thing when the chioce is a for/against referendum with varying cost and benefit of a movement away from the status quo.
- Tim: CV is a DCE with variation in one attribute (typically) and the price. DCE is more flexible but subject to potentially more biases.
- John: I’m not sure why folks are describing CVM as something other than DCE, other than to try to avoid BP funded criticism.
- Tim: To understand the criticism, follow the $.
- John: Given all the CVM nonsense, you’re kinda stupid to call your study CVM and not DCE (call me stupid)
- Tim: For fun, let’s write a paper called “Scope Effects in DCE” and just use one attribute and price and see if anyone notices.
- John: First, write the CVM paper and send to Land Econ (or Env Res Econ) and get rejected because of Hausmann, Diamond and McFadden 1/n
- Tim: Then global replace “scope” with “attribute” and “CVM” with “DCE” and get R&R at Env Res Econ (or Land Econ) 2/n
- John: I honestly believe that’s how dumb it’s become 3/n
- John: I’m working on an R&R where a referee says you can’t (i.e., it’s not allowed) to ask a follow up CVM question anymore 4/n
- John: We explicitly test for changes/biases with the second question 5/n
- John: Research is about trying new things and discovery, not following the rules of the authority figures 6/n
- John: The NRDA context is very different than RESEARCH, the consultants and those who read them uncritically don’t care to differentiate 7/7
Here is the brief off-the-top-of-my-head history of thought:
- Mitchell and Carson (Using Surveys to Value Public Goods, RFF Press, 1989) define CVM as a hypothetical yes/no response to a randomly assigned cost variable. Variations in attributes of the policy/program (aka "scope") is one internal validity test.
- Carson and Louviere (Env and Res Econ, 2011) define referendum CVM with a scope test as a special case of DCE (as in the John/Tim tweets above). Payment card and open ended elicitation questions are CVM only.
- Carson and Czajkowski (chapter 9 in Hess and Daly 2014) make the point in Carson and Louviere a bit more clear
- Zawojska and Czajkowski (J Env Econ Policy 2017) take it one step too far and say that referendum CVM with a scope test is DCE and not CVM.