Environmental and Resource Economics

, Volume 67, Issue 3, pp 479–504 | Cite as

Referenda Under Oath

  • Nicolas Jacquemet
  • Alexander James
  • Stéphane Luchini
  • Jason F. Shogren


Herein we explore whether a solemn oath can eliminate hypothetical bias in a voting referenda, a popular elicitation mechanism promoted in non-market valuation exercises for its incentive compatibility properties. First, we reject the null hypothesis that a hypothetical bias does not exist. Second, we observe that people who sign an oath are significantly less likely to vote for the public good in a hypothetical referenda. We complement this evidence with a self-reported measure of honesty which confirms that the oath increases truthfulness in answers. This result opens interesting avenues for improving the elicitation of preferences in the lab and beyond.


Dichotomous choice mechanism Hypothetical bias Oath  Preference revelation 

JEL Classification

C9 H4 Q5 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicolas Jacquemet
    • 1
  • Alexander James
    • 2
  • Stéphane Luchini
    • 3
  • Jason F. Shogren
    • 4
  1. 1.Paris School of EconomicsUniversité de Lorraine (BETA)NancyFrance
  2. 2.Department of Economics and Public PolicyUniversity of Alaska AnchorageAnchorageUSA
  3. 3.Aix-Marseille University (Aix-Marseille School of Economics)CNRS and EHESS, Centre de la Vieille CharitéMarseille Cedex 02France
  4. 4.Department of Economics and FinanceUniversity of WyomingLaramieUSA

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