Environmental and Resource Economics

, Volume 51, Issue 4, pp 497–523 | Cite as

‘When to Take “No” for an Answer’? Using Entreaties to Reduce Protests in Contingent Valuation Studies

  • Giles Atkinson
  • Sian Morse-Jones
  • Susana Mourato
  • Allan Provins


We report the results of two field experiments to investigate the usefulness of entreaties in reducing protest zero responses in contingent valuation (CV) studies. These two experiments estimate willingness to pay for tropical biodiversity amongst distant beneficiaries and for reductions in water supply risks, respectively. The entreaties in both contexts, in essence, entailed an additional text to ‘talk people out of their protests’ using, respectively, a split sample test and a within sample test. Results indicate that, in both cases, these scripts were effective in significantly reducing protest zeros, with one experiment reducing protests at the payment principle stage of the valuation scenario and the other reducing protests at the payment elicitation stage. Using entreaties in this way tentatively may be a useful contribution to the existing CV literature where protests rates are high and, moreover, appear to ‘defy’ efforts to address the issue through best practice in the design and testing of survey instruments. However, while protests were reduced by about a third in both cases, the entreaties clearly did not eliminate a majority of protest zeros. Moreover, as we discuss, there are good reasons why the responses of ‘reclaimed’ protestors remain open to scrutiny.


Contingent valuation Protest responses Entreaties 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giles Atkinson
    • 1
  • Sian Morse-Jones
    • 2
  • Susana Mourato
    • 1
  • Allan Provins
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Geography and Environment and Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the EnvironmentLondon School of Economics and Political ScienceLondonUK
  2. 2.Ecosystem Services and Environmental MarketsFauna and Flora InternationalCambridgeUK
  3. 3.Economics for the Environment Consulting (eftec) Ltd.LondonUK

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