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Abstract

Accumulating evidence suggests that many respondents in stated choice experiments use simplifying strategies and heuristics. Such behavior is a deviation from random utility theory and can lead to biased estimates if not appropriately considered. This paper is a first attempt to systematically explore the use of the satisficing heuristic (Simon, 1955) in the context of a stated choice experiment. We consider 944 possible satisficing rules and allow respondents to revise the rules adopted throughout the choice sequence. While only a small proportion of respondents used the same satisficing rule across the entire sequence, allowing for changes in behavior at different stages reveals evidence that the use of the heuristic follows a learning and fatigue path. Furthermore, considering respondents satisficing leads to improved model fits and different marginal willingness-to-pay estimates.

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