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EMAC 2020 Annual Conference

Threshold Determination Using Extensions of Best-Worst Scaling

Published: May 27, 2020


Sven Beisecker, WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management; Christian Schlereth, WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management


best-worst scaling; threshold; climate-protecting actions


Best-worst scaling (BWS) is a popular method that seeks to measure preferences for a large number of items (typically more than 7) between two extremes of a continuous scale (e.g., “best” and “worst”). However, BWS suffers from the problem that identifying a threshold is not possible. This means that a researcher cannot distinguish which of the items actually belong to the “best” or “worst” category. The present study (i) proposes and compares preference measurement approaches that include an indirect threshold question in BWS and (ii) develops a method that uses this information to estimate the threshold. In an exemplary study on people’s willingness to engage in climate-protecting actions, the approaches are compared in terms of choice consistency, response time, cognitive ease of survey completion, and the distribution of yielded thresholds. We thereby show that eliciting less rather than more information through the threshold question can be advantageous.