Local, Organic, Conventional— Asymmetric Effects of Information and Taste on Label Preferences in an Experimental Auction
We endowed consumers with conventional apples and auctioned local, organic and organic-local apples to elicit consumers’ valuation and the response to two experimental treatments: scientific information and taste. For both labels, which participants valued as partial substitutes, positive WTP is conditional on distrusting the governmental food agencies. Information documenting the inconclusive scientific evidence in favor of organic and local production has little effect; while participants with positive valuation reacted to organoleptic characteristics only when the new information favored the labeled apples. The observed behavior is more consistent with polarization against conventional products, rather than in favor of local and organic.
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