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J comments on Scope Insensitivity - Less Wrong

46 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 14 May 2007 02:53AM

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Comment author: J 06 April 2009 08:49:09PM 1 point [-]

I came across an interesting book that includes the topic of scope insensitivity: "Determining the value of non-marketed goods: economics, psychological, and policy relevant aspects of contingent valuation methods" by Raymond J. Kopp, Werner W. Pommerehne, Norbert Schwarz. They suggest that while scope insensitivity on surveys is possible, it is not inevitable.

After providing an impressive list of studies rejecting the insensitivity hypothesis, they highlight two in particular: "First, the scope insensitivity hypothesis is strongly rejected (p<.001) by two large recent in-person contingent valuation studies, Carson, Wilks and Imber (1994) and Carson et al. (1994), which used extensive visual aids and very clean experimental designs to value goods thought to have substantial passive use considerations."

In order to prevent scope insensitivity, they suggest that the "respondent must (i) clearly understand the characteristics of the good they are asked to value, (ii) find the CV scenario elements related to the good's provision plausible, and (iii) answer the CV questions in a deliberate and meaningful manner."