An Experimental Investigation of the Disparity Between WTA and WTP for Lotteries

Theory and Decision 66 (3):229-262 (2009)
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Abstract

In this paper we experimentally investigate the disparity between willingness-to-accept (WTA) and willingness-to-pay (WTP) for risky lotteries. The direction of the income effect is reversed by endowing subjects with the highest price of a lottery when asking the WTP question. Our results show that the income effect is too small to be the only source of the disparity. Since the disparity concentrates on a subsample of subjects, parametric and nonparametric tests of the WTA-WTP ratio may lead to contradictory results. The disparity is significantly reduced when background risk is introduced. That is, putting subjects always into a risky position could improve the contingent valuation method, which is often concerned with the assessment of risky situations such as health risks, automobile safety, etc

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