• Article

Unraveling the choice format effect A context-dependent random utility model

A few recent studies report that preferences elicited from a two-alternative choice format are different from those elicited from a three-alternative choice format, when both choice set designs contain a status quo option. We hypothesize that the choice format effect might disappear when we estimate a random utility model (RUM) that allows for context-dependent preferences. Based on the estimated context-dependent RUM, we find that the choice format effect is likely the result of two offsetting effects: a task complexity effect that increases the probability of choosing the status quo option, and a preference matching effect, which decreases the probability. (JEL C25, Q51)


Zhang, J., & Adamowicz, WL. (2011). Unraveling the choice format effect: A context-dependent random utility model. Land Economics, 87(4), 730-743. DOI: 10.3368/le.87.4.730

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