Date: 31 May 2014

Inter-Method Reliability of Progression Sizes in a Hypothetical Purchase Task: Implications for Empirical Public Policy

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Abstract

Advances in behavioral economic research methodology have generated novel insights into public policy considerations regarding substance use and addiction. A major advancement toward this end was the development of hypothetical purchase tasks (HPTs) that permit modeling of consumption and demand without the need for actual purchases and lengthy human operant studies comprised of real reward deliveries. Psychometric research in the domain of behavioral pharmacology suggests that the HPT has adequate test–retest reliability, as well as construct and convergent/divergent validity. Research to date has exclusively examined pharmacological commodities, however, necessitating the need for technology transfer to other pressing societal issues. In the present study, we examined demand for recreational driving across three groups, each consisting of a different fuel price progression size in the HPT. Findings suggest that behavioral economic models of demand do not differ as a function of progression size, providing support to the inter-method reliability of this procedure.