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Informational Regulation of Consumer Health Risks: An Empirical Evaluation of Hazard Warnings

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  • W. Kip Viscusi
  • Wesley A. Magat
  • Joel Huber

Abstract

On the basis of data from a survey of almost 400 consumers, this article assesses whether consumer behavior is responsive to information about product hazards that is provided in response to regulation. We find that the extent to which consumers take precautions is consistent with the level of risk indicated, the amount of risk information, the specific risk and precaution indicated, and the economic benefits of safety precautions. We also use the patterns of precautionary behavior to analyze the implicit value of the morbidity effects and to assess the consistency of consumer choices. Our findings support the use of product-hazard information as an alternative to more direct regulation of safety risks.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by The RAND Corporation in its journal RAND Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 17 (1986)
Issue (Month): 3 (Autumn)
Pages: 351-365

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Handle: RePEc:rje:randje:v:17:y:1986:i:autumn:p:351-365

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Cited by:
  1. Trudy Ann Cameron, 2002. "Individual Option Prices for Climate Change Mitigation," University of Oregon Economics Department Working Papers, University of Oregon Economics Department 2003-9, University of Oregon Economics Department, revised 20 Jul 2002.
  2. Shimshack, Jay P. & Ward, Michael B. & Beatty, Timothy K.M., 2007. "Mercury advisories: Information, education, and fish consumption," MPRA Paper 25995, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Konishi, Yoshifumi & Coggins, Jay S., 2008. "Environmental risk and welfare valuation under imperfect information," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 150-169, May.
  4. Joshua Graff Zivin & Matthew Neidell, 2008. "Days of Haze: Environmental Information Disclosure and Intertemporal Avoidance Behavior," NBER Working Papers 14271, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Collins, J. Michael & Simon, Kosali I. & Tennyson, Sharon, 2013. "Drug withdrawals and the utilization of therapeutic substitutes: The case of Vioxx," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 148-168.
  6. Trudy Cameron, 2005. "Updating Subjective Risks in the Presence of Conflicting Information: An Application to Climate Change," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, Springer, vol. 30(1), pages 63-97, January.
  7. Bennear, Lori S. & Olmstead, Sheila M., 2008. "The impacts of the "right to know": Information disclosure and the violation of drinking water standards," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 117-130, September.
  8. Jay Shimshack, 2004. "Are Mercury Advisories Effective? Inofrmation, Education, and Fish Consumption," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0423, Department of Economics, Tufts University.

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