Hess, S., Beck, M. & Chorus, C. (2014)

Contrasts between utility maximisation and regret minimisation in the presence of opt out alternatives.

An increasing number of studies of choice behaviour are looking at Random Regret Minimisation (RRM) as an alternative to the well established Random Utility Maximisation (RUM) framework. Empirical evidence tends to show small differences in performance between the two approaches, with the implied preference between the models being dataset specific. In the present paper, we discuss how in the context of choice tasks involving an opt out alternative, the differences are potentially more clear cut. Specifically, we hypothesise that when opt out alternatives are framed as a rejection of all the available alternatives, this is likely to have a detrimental impact on the performance of RRM, while the performance of RUM suffers more than RRM when the opt out is framed as a respondent being indifferent between the alternatives on offer. We provide empirical support for these hypotheses through two case studies, using the two different types of opt out alternatives. Our findings suggest that analysts need to carefully evaluate their choice of model structure in the presence of opt out alternatives, while any a priori preference for a given model structure should be taken into account in survey framing.

Hess, S., Beck, M. & Chorus, C. (2014), Contrasts between utility maximisation and regret minimisation in the presence of opt out alternatives. Transportation Research Part A, 66, pp 1-12.