Handbook of Choice Modelling
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Handbook of Choice Modelling

Edited by Stephane Hess and Andrew Daly

Choice modelling is an increasingly important technique for forecasting and valuation, with applications in fields such as transportation, health and environmental economics. For this reason it has attracted attention from leading academics and practitioners and methods have advanced substantially in recent years. This Handbook, composed of contributions from senior figures in the field, summarises the essential analytical techniques and discusses the key current research issues. It will be of interest to academics, students and practitioners in a wide range of areas.
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Chapter 10: Real choices and hypothetical choices

Glenn W. Harrison


The distinction between real choices and hypothetical choices is one that is either completely ignored or is the focal point of intense inter-disciplinary controversy. In some quarters the terminology distinguishes ‘stated preferences’ and ‘revealed preferences’, where the former means preferences revealed by choices when there are no consequences for the decision maker and the latter means preferences revealed when there are consequences for the decision maker. The issues are the same: does it matter if choices are hypothetical or real and, if so, what can be done about it? There are many variants of ‘choice experiments’ in use and the distinction between real and hypothetical choices affects them all. In the context in which the expression is used in this volume, it refers to any situation in which a decision maker is asked to rank or choose from two or more alternatives and where there are several choices to be made in which one or more attributes of the alternatives are varied. In general there are many more attributes than prices that are varied.

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