Environmental and Resource Economics

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 401–417

Incorporating Discontinuous Preferences into the Analysis of Discrete Choice Experiments


    • Gibson Institute for Land, Food and EnvironmentQueen’s University
  • W. George Hutchinson
    • Gibson Institute for Land, Food and EnvironmentQueen’s University
  • Riccardo Scarpa
    • Economics Department, Waikato Management SchoolUniversity of Waikato

DOI: 10.1007/s10640-008-9198-8

Cite this article as:
Campbell, D., Hutchinson, W.G. & Scarpa, R. Environ Resource Econ (2008) 41: 401. doi:10.1007/s10640-008-9198-8


Data from a discrete choice experiment on improvements of rural landscape attributes are used to investigate the implications of discontinuous preferences on willingness to pay estimates. Using a multinomial error component logit model, we explore differences in scale and unexplained variance between respondents with discontinuous and continuous preferences and condition taste intensities on whether or not each attribute was considered by the respondent during the evaluation of alternatives. Results suggest that significant improvements in model performance can be achieved when discontinuous preferences are accommodated in the econometric specification, and that the magnitude and robustness of the willingness to pay estimates are sensitive to discontinuous preferences.


Discontinuous preferencesDiscrete choice experimentsMultinomial error component logit modelRural environmental landscapesWillingness to pay
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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008