Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Publications Database

Heterogeneity Distributions of Willingness-to-Pay in Choice Models

Sonnier, Garrett
Ainslie, Andrew
Volume: 5
Number: 3
Pages: 313 - 331
Month: September
ISSN-Print: 1570-7156
Link External Source: Online Version
Year: 2007
Keywords: Bayesian analysis; Choice modeling; Willingness-to-pay
Abstract: We investigate direct and indirect specification of the distribution of consumer willingness-to-pay (WTP) for changes in product attributes in a choice setting. Typically, choice models identify WTP for an attribute as a ratio of the estimated attribute and price coefficients. Previous research in marketing and economics has discussed the problems with allowing for random coefficients on both attribute and price, especially when the distribution of the price coefficient has mass near zero. These problems can be avoided by combining a parameterization of the likelihood function that directly identifies WTP with a normal prior for WTP. We show that the typical likelihood parameterization in combination with what are regarded as standard heterogeneity distributions for attribute and price coefficients results in poorly behaved posterior WTP distributions, especially in small sample settings. The implied prior for WTP readily allows for substantial mass in the tails of the distribution and extreme individual-level estimates of WTP. We also demonstrate the sensitivity of profit maximizing prices to parameterization and priors for WTP.