Mercury advisories and household health trade-offs
The conventional economic wisdom is that improving consumer information will enhance welfare. Yet, some scientists speculate that the Food and Drug Administration's prominent mercury in fish advisory may have harmed public health. Lower mercury intakes reduce neurological toxicity risks. However, since seafood is the predominant dietary source of healthful omega-3 fatty acids, reduced fish consumption may have significant offsetting health impacts. We explore this risk trade-off using a rich panel of household-level seafood consumption data. To control for confounding factors, we use a non-parametric changes-in-changes approach. We find strong evidence that while the advisory reduced mercury loadings, it did so at the expense of substantial reductions in healthful omega-3s. We find this response pattern even for consumers with low fish consumption. Using advisory response patterns as inputs into a prominent risk assessment model, the central estimate is that net benefits from the advisory were negative.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Shimshack, Jay P. & Ward, Michael B. & Beatty, Timothy K.M., 2007.
"Mercury advisories: Information, education, and fish consumption,"
Journal of Environmental Economics and Management,
Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 158-179, March.
- 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.
- Timothy K.M. Beatty & Jay P. Shimshack & Michael B. Ward, 2005. "Are Mercury Advisories Effective? Information, Education, and Fish Consumption," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0502, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
- Krupnick, Alan & McGuinness, Meghan & Jakus, Paul, 2002. "The Benefits and Costs of Fish Consumption Advisories for Mercury," Discussion Papers dp-02-55, Resources For the Future.
- Viscusi, W Kip, 1997. "Alarmist Decisions with Divergent Risk Information," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1657-1670, November.
- Villas-Boas, Sofia B & Schlenker, Wolfram, 2009.
"Consumer and Market Responses to Mad-Cow Disease,"
Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series
qt13d1n5mg, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
- Schlenker, Wolfram & Villas-Boas, Sofia B, 2008. "Consumer and Market Responses to Mad-Cow Disease," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt7995j7cm, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
- Kuchler, Fred & Tegene, Abebayehu, 2006. "Did Bse Announcements Reduce Beef Purchases?," Economic Research Report 7251, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
- Susan Athey & Guido W. Imbens, 2006.
"Identification and Inference in Nonlinear Difference-in-Differences Models,"
Econometric Society, vol. 74(2), pages 431-497, 03.
- Susan Athey & Guido Imbens, 2003. "Identification and Inference in Nonlinear Difference-in-Differences Models," Levine's Working Paper Archive 506439000000000079, David K. Levine.
- Susan Athey & Guido W. Imbens, 2002. "Identification and Inference in Nonlinear Difference-In-Differences Models," NBER Technical Working Papers 0280, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Chern, Wen S & Loehman, Edna T & Yen, Steven T, 1995. "Information, Health Risk Beliefs, and the Demand for Fats and Oils," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(3), pages 555-564, August.
- Ginger Zhe Jin & Phillip Leslie, 2003. "The Effect of Information on Product Quality: Evidence from Restaurant Hygiene Grade Cards," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(2), pages 409-451.
- Viscusi, W Kip, 1990. "Do Smokers Underestimate Risks?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1253-1269, December.
- Hamilton, James L, 1972. "The Demand for Cigarettes: Advertising, the Health Scare, and the Cigarette Advertising Ban," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 54(4), pages 401-411, November.
- Daniel Kahneman, 2003. "Maps of Bounded Rationality: Psychology for Behavioral Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1449-1475, December.
- John D. Jackson, 1997. "Effects of Health Information and Generic Advertising on U.S. Meat Demand," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 79(1), pages 13-23.
- Madajewicz, Malgosia & Pfaff, Alexander & van Geen, Alexander & Graziano, Joseph & Hussein, Iftikhar & Momotaj, Hasina & Sylvi, Roksana & Ahsan, Habibul, 2007. "Can information alone change behavior? Response to arsenic contamination of groundwater in Bangladesh," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 731-754, November.
- Stigler, George J & Becker, Gary S, 1977. "De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(2), pages 76-90, March.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:29:y:2010:i:5:p:674-685. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.