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Does Health Information Matter for Modifying Consumption? A Field Experiment Measuring the Impact of Risk Information on Fish Consumption

  • Jutta Roosen
  • Stéphan Marette
  • Sandrine Blanchemanche
  • Philippe Verger

A field experiment was conducted in France to evaluate the impact of health information on fish consumption. A warning revealed the risks of methyl mercury contamination in fish and gave consumption recommendations. A difference-in-differences estimation shows that this warning led to a statistically significant but relatively weak decrease in fish consumption. Consumption of the most contaminated fish did not decrease despite advice to avoid consumption of these fish. Accompanying questionnaires show that consumers imperfectly recall the fish species quoted in the warning. The results suggest a relatively poor efficacy of a complex health message, despite its use by several national health agencies. Copyright 2009, Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by Agricultural and Applied Economics Association in its journal Review of Agricultural Economics.

Volume (Year): 31 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 2-20

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Handle: RePEc:oup:revage:v:31:y:2009:i:1:p:2-20
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  1. Marette, Stéphan & Roosen, Jutta & Blanchemanche, Sandrine, 2008. "Health information and substitution between fish: Lessons from laboratory and field experiments," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 197-208, June.
  2. Jensen, Helen H. & Kesavan, T. & Johnson, Stanley R., 1992. "Measuring the Impact of Health Awareness on Food Demand," Staff General Research Papers 11239, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  3. Fred Kuchler & Abebayehu Tegene & J. Michael Harris, 2005. "Taxing Snack Foods: Manipulating Diet Quality or Financing Information Programs?," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 27(1), pages 4-20.
  4. Shogren, Jason F. & Fox, John A. & Hayes, Dermot J. & Roosen, Jutta, 1999. "Observed Choices For Food Safety in Retail, Survey and Auction Markets," Staff General Research Papers 5024, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  5. Jayachandran N. Variyam & John Cawley, 2006. "Nutrition Labels and Obesity," NBER Working Papers 11956, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. Sloan, Frank A. & Smith, V. Kerry & Taylor, Donald Jr., 2002. "Information, addiction, and 'bad choices': lessons from a century of cigarettes," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 147-155, October.
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