Choosing not to choose: A meta-analysis of status quo effects in environmental valuations using choice experiments

Jesus Barreiro-Hurle, Maria Espinosa-Goded, Jose Miguel Martinez-Paz, Angel Perni


Discrete choice experiments (DCE) normally include in their choice sets an option described as the status quo (i.e. no change to current situation; SQ). The literature has identified Status Quo Effect (SQE) as the systematic preference of the SQ over the alternatives that propose changes over and beyond what can be captured by the variation of attributes’ levels. In this paper, we conduct a meta-analysis of DCE applied in environmental policy to identify potential drivers of SQE. We find that accounting for heterogeneity in the econometric analysis, excluding protest responses and easing the choice’s cognitive burden reduce the presence of SQE.


Meta-analysis; choice experiments; status quo effect in environmental valuations

Subject classification

C25, Q51.

Full Text:



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