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Asymmetric Information and Food Safety: Maize in Kenya

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  • Hoffmann, Vivian
  • Mutiga, Samuel
  • Harvey, Jagger
  • Nelson, Rebecca
  • Milgroom, Michael
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    Abstract

    When quality is not observable by prospective buyers, theory predicts that the quality of marketed goods will suffer, and the volume of trade will be depressed. Using data from more than 2,000 maize samples collected in four Kenyan provinces, we show that the presence of aflatoxin, an invisible and dangerous fungal contaminant, is not reflected in maize prices but does affect how maize is used. This apparent market failure reduces the quality of maize available on the market. In addition, we show that self-produced maize is a normal good.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Agricultural and Applied Economics Association in its series 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. with number 151288.

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    Date of creation: 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea13:151288

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    Keywords: Crop Production/Industries; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety; O12; O13; O15;

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    1. Winand Emons & George Sheldon, 2009. "The market for used cars: new evidence of the lemons phenomenon," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(22), pages 2867-2885.
    2. Bond, Eric W, 1982. "A Direct Test of the "Lemons" Model: The Market for Used Pickup Trucks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(4), pages 836-40, September.
    3. Eswaran, Mukesh & Kotwal, Ashok, 1986. "Access to Capital and Agrarian Production Organisation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(382), pages 482-98, June.
    4. Akerlof, George A, 1970. "The Market for 'Lemons': Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500, August.
    5. Pritchett, Jonathan B & Chamberlain, Richard M, 1993. "Selection in the Market for Slaves: New Orleans, 1830-1860," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(2), pages 461-73, May.
    6. Genesove, David, 1993. "Adverse Selection in the Wholesale Used Car Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(4), pages 644-65, August.
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