Asymmetric Information and Food Safety: Maize in Kenya
When quality is not observable by prospective buyers, theory predicts that the quality of marketed goods will suffer, and the volume of trade will be depressed. Using data from more than 2,000 maize samples collected in four Kenyan provinces, we show that the presence of aflatoxin, an invisible and dangerous fungal contaminant, is not reflected in maize prices but does affect how maize is used. This apparent market failure reduces the quality of maize available on the market. In addition, we show that self-produced maize is a normal good.
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