Contemporary Guidance for Stated Preference Studies

Robert J. Johnston (Corresponding Author), Kevin J. Boyle, Wiktor (Vic) Adamowicz, Jeff Bennett, Roy Brouwer, Trudy Ann Cameron, W. Michael Hanemann, Nick Hanley, Mandy Ryan, Riccardo Scarpa, Roger Tourangeau, Christian A. Vossler

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This article proposes contemporary best-practice recommendations for stated preference (SP) studies used to inform decision-making, grounded in the accumulated body of peer-reviewed literature. These recommendations consider the use of SP methods to estimate both use and non-use (passive-use) values, and cover the broad SP domain including contingent valuation and discrete choice experiments. We focus on applications to public goods in the context of the environment and human health, but also consider ways in which the proposed recommendations might apply to other common areas of application. The recommendations recognize that SP results may be used and reused (benefit transfers) by governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations, and that all such applications must be considered. The intended result is a set of guidelines for SP studies that is more comprehensive than that of the original National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Blue Ribbon Panel on contingent valuation, is more germane to contemporary applications, and reflects the two decades of research since that time. We also distinguish between practices for which accumulated research is sufficient to support recommendations and those for which greater uncertainty remains. The goal of this article is to raise the quality of SP studies used to support decision making and promote research that will further enhance the practice of these studies worldwide.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists
Issue number2
Early online date29 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017

Bibliographical note

We gratefully acknowledge all those who provided input and feedback, including those who
provided written comments, as well as attendees at our sessions at the World Congress of
Environmental and Resource Economists in 2014, and the International Choice Modeling
Conference (ICMC), Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (AERE) Annual
Meeting, and European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (EAERE)
Annual Meeting, all in 2015. We thank Cathy Kling for moderating the 2015 AERE session. We
also thank Kathryn Adamowicz, Mimi Berberian, Lu Ann Pacenka and Weizhe Weng for
editorial assistance.


  • choice experiment
  • choice modelling
  • contingent valuation
  • guidelines
  • non-market valuation
  • questionnaire
  • stated preference
  • survey


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