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The Effects Of Information On Consumer Demand For Biotech Foods: Evidence From Experimental Auctions

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

Consumers' willingness to pay for food products decreases when the food label indicates that a food product is produced with the aid of modern biotechnology. This bulletin presents empirical evidence on consumers' willingness to pay for biotech foods based on the presence or absence of labels advising that the food was prepared with the aid of biotechnology. The authors designed and conducted an experimental auction to elicit consumers' willingness to pay for "genetically modified" (GM)-labeled and standard-labeled foods under different information regimes. The evidence gathered for vegetable oil, tortilla chips, and potatoes shows that labels matter. In particular, under all information treatments, consumers discounted food items labeled "GM" by an average of 14 percent. While gender, income, and other demographic characteristics appeared to have only a slight impact on consumers' willingness to pay for biotech foods, information from interested parties and third-party (independent) sources was found to have a strong impact.

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File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/33577
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Paper provided by United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service in its series Technical Bulletins with number 33577.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:ags:uerstb:33577
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  1. 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).
  2. Viscusi, W Kip, 1997. "Alarmist Decisions with Divergent Risk Information," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1657-70, November.
  3. Shogren, Jason F. & Shin, Seung Youll & Hayes, Dermot J. & Kliebenstein, James, 1994. "Resolving Differences in Willingness to Pay and Willingness to Accept," Staff General Research Papers 701, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  4. David Lucking-Reiley & John List, 2000. "Demand reduction in a multi-unit auction: Evidence from a sportscard field experiment," Framed Field Experiments 00180, The Field Experiments Website.
  5. 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.
  6. repec:feb:framed:0052 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. 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.
  8. Robert O. Herrmann & Rex H. Warland & Arthur Sterngold, 1997. "Who reacts to food safety scares?: Examining the Alar crisis," Agribusiness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(5), pages 511-520.
  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. Jason F. Shogren & John A. List & Dermot J. Hayes, 2000. "Preference Learning in Consecutive Experimental Auctions," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 82(4), pages 1016-1021.
  11. Mario F. Teisl & Nancy E. Bockstael & Alan Levy, 2001. "Measuring the Welfare Effects of Nutrition Information," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(1), pages 133-149.
  12. William Vickrey, 1961. "Counterspeculation, Auctions, And Competitive Sealed Tenders," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 16(1), pages 8-37, 03.
  13. Viscusi, W Kip & Evans, William N, 1990. "Utility Functions That Depend on Health Status: Estimates and Economic Implications," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 353-74, June.
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