An analytical framework for joint vs separate decisions by couples in choice experiments: the case of coastal water quality in Tobago

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Journal Article
Environmental and Resource Economics, 2009, 43 (1), pp. 95 - 117
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This paper offers an analytical framework for analyzing joint and separate decisions by couples in the context of choice experiments for nonmarket valuation. It reports results from an attribute-based stated preference study in which members of couples are asked to conduct a choice-experiment ?rst individually and then jointly. The choice context was the selection of which beach to visit while on vacation in Tobago. Available alternatives differed in attributes related to coastal water and beach quality such as level of coastal development and ?sh abundance. Tests of preference equality are reported and structured so as to identify the intra-couple decision-making patterns under taste heterogeneity with both ?nite and continuous mixed logit. Results from the latter suggest that womens preferences are found to be predominant in the joint choice-experiment. Results suggest caution in using individual choice rather than joint couple choice when valuing quality changes impacting on couple activities, such as water and beach quality in Tobago, and call for further research on the topic.
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