Surveys and non-market valuation

Twenty-two years ago, The CIE conducted one of the earliest choice modelling studies on environmental valuation in Australia. Today, we remain committed to using state-of-the-art survey and econometric techniques where they can help our clients understand consumer preferences for products and services that are not traded in markets. We have helped our clients make smarter decisions by valuing environmental outcomes, infrastructure service levels and future product offerings.

Stated preference research is a highly specialised field, which has seen many advances in econometric techniques over the past 20 years. We use techniques at the forefront of the discipline, including efficient experimental design (the combinations of product/service characteristics in each choice question) to help our clients save on survey costs by limiting the sample size needed for statistically significant results. We also help our clients avoid common pitfalls, such as relying on open-ended questions or asking respondents to value inputs rather than outcomes.

Our team of economists has the range of technical expertise and project management skills needed to deliver robust choice modelling and other quantitative surveys that stand up to scrutiny.

  • We take care to deliver analysis that is tailored to addressing our clients’ problems.
  • Decision makers receive easy-to-understand and reliable outputs.
  • We partner with trusted market research firms to provide a ‘one-stop shop’ experience for our clients.
  • Our work has been peer-reviewed by leading academics in the field.

Recent examples of our proven track record for delivering rigorous non-market valuation research include…

Water and wastewater services

In 2018, we conducted five separate choice modelling and contingent valuation studies for Sydney Water, covering water interruptions, wastewater overflows, digital meters, untreated wastewater ocean outfalls and water pressure. The studies were peer reviewed by Professor Ric Scarpa and were used by Sydney Water for benefit-cost analysis of system performance standards and service offerings. The NSW economic regulator (IPART) noted the reliability and good quality of the research.


In 2019, we conducted a Victoria-wide choice modelling study for the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning to estimate the benefits of reducing litter, including the number of places with noticeable litter, the type of litter and the amount of litter going into the ocean.

Electric vehicles

In 2019, we conducted a large national choice modelling survey for Australian Automobile Association to measure demand for hypothetical future electric vehicles, identify the determinants of demand and relate demand to consumer characteristics. The study was peer reviewed by Dr Andrew Collins. The Australian Automobile Association and its members used the study to inform their policy advocacy in relation to electric vehicles.

Boating infrastructure

In 2019, we conducted a NSW-wide choice modelling study of boat users for Transport for NSW to estimate the benefits of improving various aspects of public boating infrastructure, including ramp quality, pontoons, toilets and time taken to travel to and use the facility.

National Broadband Network

In 2014, the CIE, working for the Vertigan Review of the National Broadband Network (NBN), incorporated detailed choice modelling of broadband alternatives into a cost benefit analysis of NBN options. This work generated a new understanding of consumer willingness to pay for fast internet options and was central to some of the Review’s recommendations.

For further information contact Ben McNair.