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Valuing Conflicting Public Information About a New Technology: The Case of Irradiated Foods


  • Rousu, Matthew C.
  • Shogren, Jason F.


Scientists and advocates can disagree on the value of new products or technologies, such as growth hormones, genetically modified organisms, and food irradiation. Both sides of the debate disseminate information to the public hoping to influence public opinion. This study assesses the economic value of both pro and anti public information using food irradiation as a case study. The value of information sources is estimated in isolation and in combination. In isolation, the results indicate each set of information has value. In combination, only the anti-irradiation information is found to have net positive value (persuading some consumers to purchase non-irradiated products). Pro-irradiation information worked to decrease the value of anti-irradiation information by 68% per person.

Suggested Citation

  • Rousu, Matthew C. & Shogren, Jason F., 2006. "Valuing Conflicting Public Information About a New Technology: The Case of Irradiated Foods," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 31(03), December.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:jlaare:8623

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Trudy Cameron, 2005. "Updating Subjective Risks in the Presence of Conflicting Information: An Application to Climate Change," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 30(1), pages 63-97, January.
    2. Hayes, D. J. & Fox, J. A. & Shogren, J. F., 2002. "Experts and activists: how information affects the demand for food irradiation," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 185-193, April.
    3. Matthew C. Rousu & Wallace E. Huffman & Jason F. Shogren & Abebayehu Tegene, 2004. "Estimating the Public Value of Conflicting Information: The Case of Genetically Modified Foods," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 80(1), pages 125-135.
    4. Mario F. Teisl & Nancy E. Bockstael & Alan Levy, 2001. "Measuring the Welfare Effects of Nutrition Information," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(1), pages 133-149.
    5. Samuelson, William & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1988. "Status Quo Bias in Decision Making," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 7-59, March.
    6. Jay R. Corrigan & Matthew C. Rousu, 2006. "The Effect of Initial Endowments in Experimental Auctions," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 88(2), pages 448-457.
    7. Foster, William & Just, Richard E., 1989. "Measuring welfare effects of product contamination with consumer uncertainty," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 266-283, November.
    8. Lusk, Jayson L. & House, Lisa O. & Valli, Carlotta & Jaeger, Sara R. & Moore, Melissa & Morrow, Bert & Traill, W. Bruce, 2005. "Consumer welfare effects of introducing and labeling genetically modified food," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 88(3), pages 382-388, September.
    9. Wallace E. Huffman & Matthew Rousu & Jason F. Shogren & Abebayehu Tegene, 2003. "The Public Good Value of Information from Agribusinesses on Genetically Modified Foods," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1309-1315.
    10. Matthew Rousu & Wallace E. Huffman & Jason F. Shogren & Abebayehu Tegene, 2007. "Effects And Value Of Verifiable Information In A Controversial Market: Evidence From Lab Auctions Of Genetically Modified Food," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(3), pages 409-432, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. William L. Huth & David M. McEvoy & O. Ashton Morgan, 2016. "Controlling an Invasive Species through Consumption: Private and Public Values of Eating Lionfish," Working Papers 16-05, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University, revised 2016.
    2. Rousu, Matthew C. & Marette, Stéphan & Thrasher, James F. & Lusk, Jayson L., 2014. "The economic value to smokers of graphic warning labels on cigarettes: Evidence from combining market and experimental auction data," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 123-134.
    3. Rousu, Matthew C. & Nonnemaker, James & Farrelly, Matthew, 2009. "The Value of Countermarketing Information to Smokers: Evidence from Field Auctions," 2009 Annual Meeting, July 26-28, 2009, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 49219, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    4. Marette Stéphan & Roosen Jutta & Blanchemanche Sandrine, 2011. "The Combination of Lab and Field Experiments for Benefit-Cost Analysis," Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, De Gruyter, vol. 2(3), pages 1-36, August.
    5. Bruner, David M. & Huth, William L. & McEvoy, David M. & Morgan, O. Ashton, 2014. "Consumer Valuation of Food Safety: The Case of Postharvest Processed Oysters," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 43(2), August.
    6. Morten Mørkbak & Jonas Nordström, 2009. "The Impact of Information on Consumer Preferences for Different Animal Food Production Methods," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 32(4), pages 313-331, December.
    7. David M. Bruner & William L. Huth & David M. McEvoy & O. Ashton Morgan, 2011. "Accounting for Taste: Consumer Valuations for Food-Safety Technologies," Working Papers 11-09, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
    8. Matthew C. Rousu & Jay R. Corrigan, 2008. "Estimating the Value Consumers Derive from Product Labeling," Working Papers 0802, Kenyon College, Department of Economics.


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