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Are Us Consumers Tolerant Of Gm Foods?

  • Rousu, Matthew C.
  • Huffman, Wallace E.
  • Shogren, Jason F.
  • Tegene, Abebayehu

Many countries require labeling for GM food products. These countries often have different levels of genetic modification that they will tolerate before a food product must be labeled as genetically modified. For example, the European Union and Australia allow up to one percent of any ingredient in a food product to be GM before the product must be labeled as genetically modified. Japan allows 5% of any ingredient to be genetically modified before the product must be labeled as such. The United States currently does not require mandatory labeling of GM labeled foods and has no standards for what percentage of an ingredient in a food product can be genetically modified for the product to still be labeled non-GM. For the official "organic" certification by the United States, a food product must be genetically modified and there is no tolerance for any genetically modified content. This paper presents empirical evidence on consumers' value for non-GM foods that are certified to have no GM content and non-GM foods that could have ingredients that were up to one or five percent genetically modified. We estimate values using a laboratory auction experiment performed on 44 randomly chosen adult consumers in the Des Moines, IA, area, grouped in 3 experimental units. They participated in a random nth-price auction experiment, in which they bid on three familiar neutral food items that may be genetically modified. Using statistical design and econometric analysis, this paper will estimate the average value of tolerance levels to consumers, measured as the difference in the auction price of a certified non-GM food and a non-GM food that had a tolerance of one or five percent. This paper has two findings. We find evidence indicating consumers place value in a certified non-GM food product, as opposed to a non-GM food product with a tolerance. We find no evidence, however, that consumers value a product with a tolerance of one percent more than they value a product with a tolerance of five percent. Due to decreased firm costs of complying with a tolerance of five percent, we find evidence that if the United States decides to enact a tolerance standard, a five percent tolerance may be better than a one percent tolerance. This information could be useful to policy makers who are considering whether to write in an acceptable tolerance level for genetically modified material.

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Paper provided by American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association) in its series 2002 Annual meeting, July 28-31, Long Beach, CA with number 19889.

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Date of creation: 2002
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Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea02:19889
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  1. Carlson, Andrea & Kinsey, Jean D. & Nadav, Carmel, 1998. "Who Eats What, When, And From Where?," Working Papers 14312, University of Minnesota, The Food Industry Center.
  2. Klein, Nicole L. & Brester, Gary W., 1997. "Economic Impacts of the Zero Tolerance Directive on the Cost Structure of Beef Packing Companies," 1997 Annual Meeting, July 13-16, 1997, Reno\Sparks, Nevada 35743, Western Agricultural Economics Association.
  3. Shogren, Jason F. & Margolis, Michael & Koo, Cannon & List, John A., 2001. "A random nth-price auction," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 46(4), pages 409-421, December.
  4. John A. List & Jason F. Shogren, 1999. "Price Information and Bidding Behavior in Repeated Second-Price Auctions," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 81(4), pages 942-949.
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  6. Shogren, Jason F. & Seung Y. Shin & Dermot J. Hayes & James B. Kliebenstein, 1994. "Resolving Differences in Willingness to Pay and Willingness to Accept," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 255-70, March.
  7. Jeffrey M Wooldridge, 2010. "Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262232588, June.
  8. Rousu, Matthew & Huffman, Wallace & Shogren, Jason F. & Tegene, Abebayehu, 2002. "The Value of Verifiable Information in a Controversial Market: Evidence from Lab Auctions of Genetically Modified Food," Staff General Research Papers 10009, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  9. Hayes, Dermot J. & Shogren, Jason F. & Shin, Seung Youll & Kliebenstein, James, 1995. "Valuing Food Safety in Experimental Auction Markets," Staff General Research Papers 835, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  10. W. Kip Viscusi & Wesley A. Magat & Joel Huber, 1987. "An Investigation of the Rationality of Consumer Valuations of Multiple Health Risks," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 18(4), pages 465-479, Winter.
  11. Hammitt, James K & Graham, John D, 1999. "Willingness to Pay for Health Protection: Inadequate Sensitivity to Probability?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 33-62, April.
  12. Noussair, Charles & Robin, Stephane & Ruffieux, Bernard, 2002. "Do consumers not care about biotech foods or do they just not read the labels?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 47-53, March.
  13. Fox, John A & Hayes, Dermot J & Shogren, Jason F, 2002. " Consumer Preferences for Food Irradiation: How Favorable and Unfavorable Descriptions Affect Preferences for Irradiated Pork in Experimental Auctions," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 75-95, January.
  14. Lusk, Jayson L. & Daniel, M. Scott & Mark, Darrell R. & Lusk, Christine L., 2001. "Alternative Calibration And Auction Institutions For Predicting Consumer Willingess To Pay For Nongenetically Modified Corn Chips," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 26(01), July.
  15. Jack Knetsch & Fang-Fang Tang & Richard Thaler, 2001. "The Endowment Effect and Repeated Market Trials: Is the Vickrey Auction Demand Revealing?," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 257-269, December.
  16. Huffman, Wallace E. & Shogren, Jason F. & Rousu, Matthew C. & Tegene, Abebayehu, 2001. "The Value To Consumers Of Gm Food Labels In A Market With Asymmetric Information: Evidence From Experimental Auctions," 2001 Annual meeting, August 5-8, Chicago, IL 20553, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  17. Jason F. Shogren & John A. Fox, 1996. "Consumer Preferences for Fresh Food Items with Multiple Quality Attributes: Evidence from an Experimental Auction of Pork Chops," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 78(4), pages 916-923.
  18. Kinsey, Jean D. & Wolfson, Paul J. & Katsaras, Nikolaos & Senauer, Benjamin, 2001. "Data Mining: A Segmentation Analysis Of U.S. Grocery Shoppers," Working Papers 14335, University of Minnesota, The Food Industry Center.
  19. David Lucking-Reiley & John A. List, 2000. "Demand Reduction in Multiunit Auctions: Evidence from a Sportscard Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 961-972, September.
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