Position Bias in Best-Worst Scaling Surveys: A Case Study on Trust in Institutions



Campbell D & Erdem S (2015) Position Bias in Best-Worst Scaling Surveys: A Case Study on Trust in Institutions. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 97 (2), pp. 526-545.

This paper investigates the effect of items' physical position in the best-worst scaling technique. Although the best-worst scaling technique has been widely used in many fields, the literature has largely overlooked the phenomenon of consumers' adoption of processing strategies while making their best-worst choices. We examine this issue in the context of consumers' trust in institutions to provide information about a new food technology, nanotechnology, and its use in food processing. Our results show that approximately half of the consumers used position as a schematic cue when making choices. We find the position bias was particularly strong when consumers chose their most trustworthy institution compared to their least trustworthy institution. In light of our findings, we recommend that researchers in the field 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.

Best-worst scaling; position bias; consumer trust; multinomial logit model; latent class logit model; nanotechnology

American Journal of Agricultural Economics: Volume 97, Issue 2

Publication date31/03/2015
Publication date online20/01/2015
PublisherOxford University Press

People (2)


Professor Danny Campbell
Professor Danny Campbell

Professor, Economics

Dr Seda Erdem
Dr Seda Erdem

Associate Professor, Economics