One core assumption of standard economic theory is that an individual’s preferences are stable, irrespective of the method used to elicit them. This assumption may be violated if preference reversals are observed when comparing different methods to elicit people’s preferences. People may then prefer A over B using one method while preferring B over A using another. Such preference reversals pose a significant problem for theoretical and applied research. We used a sample of medical and economics students to investigate preference reversals in the health and financial domain when choosing patients/clients. We explored whether preference reversals are associated with domain-relevant training and tested whether using guided ‘choice list’ elicitation reduces reversals. Our findings suggest that preference reversals were more likely to occur for medical students, within the health domain, and for open-ended valuation questions. Familiarity with a domain reduced the likelihood of preference reversals in that domain. Although preference reversals occur less frequently within specialist domains, they remain a significant theoretical and practical problem. The use of clearer valuation procedures offers a promising approach to reduce preference reversals.

Choice · Decision making for others · Preference elicitation · Preference imprecision · Preference reversals,
The European Journal of Health Economics
Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management (ESHPM)

Neumann - Böhme, S, Lipman, S.A, Attema, A.E, & Brouwer, W.B.F. (2021). Trust me; I know what I am doing. The European Journal of Health Economics. doi:10.1007/s10198-021-01283-3