Environmental and Resource Economics

, Volume 61, Issue 3, pp 385–407 | Cite as

The Influence of Design Dimensions on Stated Choices in an Environmental Context

  • Jürgen MeyerhoffEmail author
  • Malte Oehlmann
  • Priska Weller


Discrete choice experiments are increasingly used in the context of environmental valuation. However, there is still little known about the influence of the complexity of the choice task on model outcomes. In this paper we investigate task complexity in terms of the design dimensionality of the choice experiment by systematically varying the number of choice sets, alternatives, attributes, and levels as well as the level range. We largely follow a Design of Designs approach originally introduced in transportation. First, we analyse the influence of the design dimensionality on participants’ dropout behaviour finding that the probability to drop-out of the survey is influenced by socio-demographic characteristics and increases with the number of choice sets, attributes as well as with designs having five alternatives. Second, we investigate the impact of the design dimensions on stated choices by estimating a multinomial logit model, and heteroskedastic logit models. Results show that the error term variance is influenced by socio-demographic characteristics as well as by all design dimensions. Moreover, we find that accounting for the impact of the design dimension on the error variance does not significantly change willingness to pay estimates.


Choice complexity Design of designs Stated choice experiment  Error variance Land use changes 



We would like to thank two anonymous reviewers for their very valuable comments. Also we would like to thank Helen Lauff (Link-Institut) for her advice and patience while implementing our Design of Designs approach in the survey software. Funding for this research was provided by the Federal German Ministry of Education and Research (Fkz. 033L029G; Fkz 01LL0909A) and is gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jürgen Meyerhoff
    • 1
    Email author
  • Malte Oehlmann
    • 1
  • Priska Weller
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute for Landscape and Environmental PlanningTechnische Universität BerlinBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Johann Heinrich von Thünen Institute, Institute for International Forestry and Forest EconomicsHamburgGermany

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