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Individual Preferences, Choices, and Risk Perceptions - survey based evidence

by Lampi, Elina, PhD

Abstract (Summary)
Paper 1 investigates how birth order and having siblings affect positional concerns in terms of success at work and of income. We find that only-children are the most positional, but that number of siblings increases the concern for their position among those who grew up together with siblings. Furthermore, people whose parents often compared them with their siblings have stronger positional concerns in general. Paper 2 analyzes whether an introduction of an entrance fee affects visitor composition at a Swedish state-funded museum, namely the Museum of World Culture. We conducted two surveys in order to collect information about the visitors’ socio-economic backgrounds, one before and one after the introduction of the entrance fee. While the entrance was still free, we asked visitors about their willingness to pay (WTP) for a visit, using the Contingent Valuation (CV) method. The results of the CV survey show that several target group visitors that the museum wishes to reach are less likely to visit the museum even at a very low fee level. By comparing the CV results and the observed post-introduction change in visitor composition, we conclude that CV does predict a majority of the changes successfully. In Paper 3 we use a choice experiment to study whether Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator preferences regarding improvements in environmental quality differ from citizen preferences. The EPA administrators were asked to choose the alternatives they would recommend as a policy, while the citizens were asked to act as private persons. We find that the attribute rankings and the WTP levels for particular attributes differ between the two groups. We also find that ecological sustainability is more important for the administrators than the preferences of ordinary people regarding changes in environmental quality. Paper 4 analyzes the marginal willingness to pay (MWTP) for changes in noise levels related to changes in the volume of take-offs and landings at a city airport in Stockholm, by using a choice experiment. When estimating MWTP for different times of the day and days of the week, we find that these vary with temporal dimensions: mornings and evenings have higher values. Paper 5 investigates whether women have correct perceptions about the age-related risk of female infertility, whether the perceptions of the personal and the general risk in the own age group differ, and if so, which factors can explain the difference. The results show that women overestimate the general risks for women older than 34, and that mothers in general have a too optimistic picture of their own fertility while non-mothers do not. Paper 6 analyzes from which channels of information women get information about the general risks of age-related female infertility and how the different channels of information affect women’s risk perceptions. We find that media reaches women of all ages, while only about one-fourth have received information from the health care system. Furthermore, information from friends and relatives makes women more likely to overestimate the risks. Since women are most interested in receiving information from the health care system, we argue that system authorities should inform women earlier than what is being done today.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Göteborgs universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:SOCIAL SCIENCES; Business and economics; Economics; administrators; aircraft; airports; birth order; choice experiment; citizens; environmental policy; female infertility; free entrance; general risk; health care; information; media; museum; natural experiment; noise; only-child; optimistic bias; personal risk; positional concern; relative income; siblings; stated preferences; visitor composition.

ISBN:978-91-85169-34-4

Date of Publication:01/01/2008

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