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Abstract

Stated choice analysis is now a widely used and accepted methodology for exploring food choice. In stated choice experiments respondents are asked to make a choice between two or more alternatives, one of which typically takes the form of a ‘buy none’ option. It is widely recognised that respondents often perceive this option differently from the other alternatives and various reasons for this have been offered. Nevertheless, the role that utility balance among the experimentally designed options plays on the propensity of respondent’s choosing ‘buy none’ has largely been overlooked. Using a non-linear representation of utility we show that the ‘buy none’ choices are sensitive to utility balance. We further show how accommodating this provides an additional insight into choice behaviour and has a bearing on welfare calculations

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