Position bias in best-worst scaling surveys: a case study on trust in institutions

This paper investigates the effect of physical position on ‘best’ and ‘worst’ choices in the bestworst scaling technique. Although the best-worst scaling technique has been used widely in many fields, the phenomenon of consumers’ adoption of processing strategies while making choices has been largely overlooked. We examine this issue in the context of consumers’ perception of trust in institutions to provide information about a new food technology, namely nanotechnology, and its use in food processing. Our results show that around half of the consumers used position as a schematic cue when making choices. We find the position bias is particularly strong when consumers chose their most trustworthy institution compared to their least trustworthy institution. In light of our findings, we recommend researchers in the field to be aware of the possibility of position bias when designing best-worst scaling surveys. We also encourage researchers who have already collected best-worst data to investigate whether their data shows such heuristics.

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Conference Paper/ Presentation
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JEL Codes:
C25; D12; Q18

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2017-04-26

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