The influence of incentives in eliminating hypothetical bias: Evidence from a choice-based conjoint experiment for beef products in Iringa and Mbeya regions in Tanzania

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Journal of Agricultural Economics and Development


Consumer responses were observed for a within-sample comparison of preference and willingness-to-pay (WTP) estimates for tenderness, leanness, freshness and hygiene for beef products from finished cattle and non-finished cattle (status quo). This comparison was conducted through two sessions of repeated choice-based conjoint experiments (CBC), starting with a hypothetical choice-based conjoint (HCBC) experiment that involved cheap talk only followed by a real choice-based conjoint (RCBC) experiment that involved the actual purchase of experimental products with real money. Consumers prefer more tender, less fatty, chilled beef and clean retailing premises, regardless of the choice session; however, the estimated coefficients were not equal (p<0.001). The selection was motivated by alternatives in HCBC where finished beef constituted 76% of all choices made. The selection of finished beef dropped to 67% in RCBC where consumers were sensitive to the price and quality content of alternative products. Consumers overestimate the WTP for hygiene in HCBC (p=0.014); however, there are no significant differences in WTP estimates for other attributes. Therefore, it is concluded that monetary incentives can reduce hypothetical choice bias and provide more trustworthy WTP estimates for all attributes.


Journal of Agricultural Economics and Development Vol. 2(8), pp. 324-332, August 2013


Beef, Finishing, Chilling, Hygiene, Tenderness, Preferences, Willingness to pay