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Environmental and Regulatory Concerns During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Results from the Pandemic Food and Stigma Survey


  • Maik Kecinski

    (University of Delaware)

  • Kent D. Messer

    (University of Delaware)

  • Brandon R. McFadden

    (University of Delaware)

  • Trey Malone

    (Michigan State University)


In this article, we present data from the monthly Pandemic Food and Stigma Survey (PFSS), a nationwide representative sample of adults in the United States designed to identify how the pandemic is affecting concerns about food and the environment. Two surveys were conducted in May and June 2020. Our analysis suggests that the public’s concern about contracting COVID-19 has been high; however, infection with COVID-19 was not the only concern. A majority of respondents remained strongly concerned about environmental issues, such as climate change, while responses to sudden relaxations of environmental and food safety policies varied. We analyze the PFSS data to identify factors associated with concerns about pandemic and environmental regulatory changes. In general, we find that people whose food security has been threatened by COVID-19 remain concerned about relaxation of environmental regulations, and those most inclined to take steps to reduce spread of the virus, such as wearing masks and social distancing, are more concerned about relaxed regulations than those less willing to take mitigating actions.

Suggested Citation

  • Maik Kecinski & Kent D. Messer & Brandon R. McFadden & Trey Malone, 2020. "Environmental and Regulatory Concerns During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Results from the Pandemic Food and Stigma Survey," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 76(4), pages 1139-1148, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:76:y:2020:i:4:d:10.1007_s10640-020-00438-9
    DOI: 10.1007/s10640-020-00438-9

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Burkhardt, Jesse & Bayham, Jude & Wilson, Ander & Carter, Ellison & Berman, Jesse D. & O'Dell, Katelyn & Ford, Bonne & Fischer, Emily V. & Pierce, Jeffrey R., 2019. "The effect of pollution on crime: Evidence from data on particulate matter and ozone," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 98(C).
    2. Malvina Bondy & Sefi Roth & Lutz Sager, 2020. "Crime Is in the Air: The Contemporaneous Relationship between Air Pollution and Crime," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(3), pages 555-585.
    3. Elizabeth A Albright & Deserai Crow, 2019. "Beliefs about climate change in the aftermath of extreme flooding," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 155(1), pages 1-17, July.
    4. Kent Messer & William Schulze & Katherine Hackett & Trudy Cameron & Gary McClelland, 2006. "Can Stigma Explain Large Property Value Losses? The Psychology and Economics of Superfund," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 33(3), pages 299-324, March.
    5. Jayson L. Lusk, 2017. "Consumer Research with Big Data: Applications from the Food Demand Survey (FooDS)," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 99(2), pages 303-320.
    6. Emilie Zentner & Maik Kecinski & Angeline Letourneau & Debra Davidson, 2019. "Ignoring Indigenous peoples—climate change, oil development, and Indigenous rights clash in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 155(4), pages 533-544, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Timothy Mc Call & Susanne Lopez Lumbi & Michel Rinderhagen & Meike Heming & Claudia Hornberg & Michaela Liebig-Gonglach, 2023. "Risk Perception of the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic: Influencing Factors and Implications for Environmental Health Crises," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 20(4), pages 1-14, February.
    2. Filimonau, Viachaslau & Vi, Le Hong & Beer, Sean & Ermolaev, Vladimir A., 2022. "The Covid-19 pandemic and food consumption at home and away: An exploratory study of English households," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 82(PA).
    3. Robert J. R. Elliott & Ingmar Schumacher & Cees Withagen, 2020. "Suggestions for a Covid-19 Post-Pandemic Research Agenda in Environmental Economics," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 76(4), pages 1187-1213, August.
    4. Miller, Steven R. & Malone, Trey & Schaefer, Aleks K., 2020. "Economic Impact of COVID-19 on Michigan Agricultural Production Sectors," Miscellaneous Publications 305642, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    5. Malone, Trey & Schaefer, K. Aleks & Lusk, Jayson L., 2021. "Unscrambling U.S. egg supply chains amid COVID-19," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 101(C).

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    More about this item


    COVID-19; Environmental attitudes; Environmental regulations; Food safety regulations;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C83 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Survey Methods; Sampling Methods
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy


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