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Level I

Accounting for Primacy and Recency Effects in Discrete Choice Experiments (2020-EU-EPO-387)

Level: Intermediate


Roselinde Kessels, Assistant Professor, University of Antwerp and Maastricht University
Robert Mee, William and Sara Clark Professor of Business Analytics, University of Tennessee


Past discrete choice experiments provide clear evidence of primacy and recency effects in the presentation order of the profiles within a choice set, with the first or last profiles in a choice set being selected more often than the other profiles. Existing Bayesian choice design algorithms do not accommodate profile order effects within choice sets. This can produce severely biased part-worth estimates, as we illustrate using a product packaging choice experiment performed for P&G in Mexico. A common practice is to randomize the order of profiles within choice sets for each respondent. While randomizing profile orders for each subject ensures near balance on average across all subjects, the randomizations for many individual subjects can be quite unbalanced with respect to profile order; hence, any tendency to prefer the first or last profiles may result in bias for those subjects. As a consequence, this bias may produce heterogeneity in hierarchical Bayesian estimates for subjects, even when the subjects have identical true preferences. As a design solution, we propose position balanced Bayesian optimal designs that are constrained to achieve sufficient order balance. For the analysis, we recommend including a profile order covariate to account for any order preference in the responses.