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Abstract

A large body of literature suggests individuals behave differently when responding to hypothetical valuation questions than when actual payment is required. Such findings have generated a great deal of skepticism over the use of the contingent valuation method and benefit measures derived from it. Recently, a new method, cheap talk, has been proposed to eliminate the potential bias in hypothetical valuation questions. Cheap talk refers to process of explaining hypothetical bias to individuals prior to asking a valuation question. This study explores the effect of cheap talk in a mass mail survey using a conventional value elicitation technique. Results suggest that cheap talk was effective at reducing willingness-to-pay for most survey participants. However, consistent with previous research, cheap talk did not reduce willingness-to-pay for consumers who were knowledgeable of the good evaluated.

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