Environmental and Resource Economics

, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 95–117 | Cite as

An Analytical Framework for Joint vs Separate Decisions by Couples in Choice Experiments: The Case of Coastal Water Quality in Tobago

  • Nesha Beharry-BorgEmail author
  • David A. Hensher
  • Riccardo Scarpa


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 first 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 fish abundance. Tests of preference equality are reported and structured so as to identify the intra-couple decision-making patterns under taste heterogeneity with both finite and continuous mixed logit. Results from the latter suggest that women’s 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.


Choice-experiments Household choice Intra-household bargaining Non-market valuation Stated preference 



Multinomial logit


Willingness to pay


Choice experiment


Ordinary least squares


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Adamowicz W, Hanemann M, Swait J, Johnson R, Layton D, Regenwetter M, Reimer T, Sorkin R (2005) Decision strategy and structure in households: A groups perspective. Mark Lett 16: 387–399CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arora N, Allenby G (1999) Measuring the influence of individual preference structures in group decision making. J Mark Res 476–487Google Scholar
  3. Bateman I, Munro A (2005) An experiment on risky choice amongst households. Econ J 115: 176–189CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Becker G (1973) A theory of marriage: Part I. J Polit Econ 81: 813–846CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chiuri MC (2000) Individual decisions and household demand for consumption and leisure. Res Econ 54: 277–324CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dosman D, Adamowicz W (2006) Combining stated and revealed preference data to construct an empirical examination of intrahousehold bargaining. Rev Econ Househ 4: 15–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ferrini S, Scarpa R (2007) Designs with a-priori information for nonmarket valuation with choice-experiments: a Monte Carlo study. J Environ Econ Manage 53(3): 342–363CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Greene W, Hensher D, Rose J (2005) Using classical simulation-based estimators to estimate individual WTP values. In: Scarpa R, Alberini A (eds) Applications of simulation methods in environmental and resource economics, chapter 2. Springer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, pp 17–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Haddad L, Hoddinot J, Alderman H (1997) Intra household resource allocation in developing countries: models, methods, and policy. Johns Hopkins, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  10. Hensher DA, Rose JM, Black I (2008) Interactive agency choice in automobile purchase decisions: the role of negotiation in determining equilibrium choice outcomes. J Transp Econ Policy 42(2): 269–296Google Scholar
  11. Huber J, Train K (2001) On the similarity of classical and Bayesian estimates of individual mean partworths. Market Lett 12: 259–269CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kuhfeld WF (2004) Marketing research methods in SAS: experimental design, choice, conjoint,and graphical techniques, Technical support document 694c. SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC, USAGoogle Scholar
  13. Lampietti J (1999) Do husbands and wives make the same choices? Evidence from Northern Ethiopia. Econ Lett 62: 253–260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Myers DG, Lamm H (1976) The group polarization phenomenon. Psychol Bull 83: 602–627CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Quiggin J (1998) Individual and household willingness to pay for public goods. Am J Agric Econ 80: 58–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Rao V, Steckel J (1991) A polarization model for describing group preferences. J Consum Res Interdiscip Q 18: 108–118Google Scholar
  17. Sándor Z, Wedel M (2001) Designing conjoint choice experiments using managers’ prior beliefs. J Mark Res 38: 430–444CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Scarpa R, Rose JM (2008) Designs efficiency for nonmarket valuation with choice modelling: how to measure it, what to report and why. Aust J Agric Resour Econ 52: 253–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Scarpa R, Campbell D, Hutchinson WG (2007) Benefit estimates for landscape improvements: sequential Bayesian design and respondents rationality in a choice experiment study. Land Econ 83(4): 617–634Google Scholar
  20. Scarpa R, Willis KG, Acutt M (2005) Individual-specific welfare measures for public goods: a latent class approach to residential customers of Yorkshire Water. In: Koundouri P (eds) Econometrics informing natural resource management, chapter 14. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK; Nottingham, MA, USA, pp 316–337Google Scholar
  21. Smith V, Houtven GV (1998) Non-market valuation and the household. Discussion Paper 98-31, 1998 Resources for the futureGoogle Scholar
  22. Steckel J, O’Shaughnessy J (1989) Towards a new way to measure power: applying conjoint analysis to group decisions. Mark Lett 1(1): 37–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Strand J (2007) Public-good valuation and intra-family allocation. Environ Resour Econ 38: 527–543CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Swait J, Louviere J (1993) The role of the scale parameter in the estimation and use of multinomiallogit models. J Mark Res 30: 305–314CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Train K (2003) Discrete choice methods with simulation. Cambridge University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  26. Vermeulen F (2002) Collective household models: principles and main results. J Econ Surv 16: 533–564CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nesha Beharry-Borg
    • 1
    Email author
  • David A. Hensher
    • 2
  • Riccardo Scarpa
    • 3
  1. 1.Sustainability Research Institute, School of Earth and EnvironmentUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK
  2. 2.Faculty of Economics and BusinessThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Economics, Waikato Management SchoolUniversity of WaikatoHamiltonNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations