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Can Household Consumers Save the Wild Fish? Lessons from a Sustainable Seafood Advisory

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  • Hallstein, Eric
  • Villas-Boas, Sofia B

Abstract

Conservation organizations seeking to reduce over-fishing and promote better fishingpractices have increasingly turned to market-based mechanisms such as environmentalsustainability labels (eco-labels) in order to shift patterns of household consumption.This paper presents an analysis of consumer response to an advisory for sustainableseafood adopted by a regional supermarket in the United States. The advisory con-sisted of a label in which one of three traffic light colors was placed on each freshseafood product to inform consumers about its relative environmental sustainability.Green meant “best†choice, yellow meant “proceed with caution,†and red meant “worstchoice†. Using a unique product-level panel scanner data set of weekly sales and takingadvantage of the random phase-in of the advisory by the retailer, we apply a difference-in-differences identification strategy to estimate the effect of the advisory on overallseafood sales as well as the heterogeneous impact of the advisory by label color andwhether the seafood met additional health-related criteria. We find evidence that theadvisory led to a statistically significant 15.3% decline in overall seafood sales, a statis-tically significant 34.9% decline in the sale of yellow labeled seafood, and a statisticallysignificant 41.3% decline in the sale of yellow labeled seafood on a mercury safe list.We find no statistically significant difference in sales of green or red labeled seafood.

Suggested Citation

  • Hallstein, Eric & Villas-Boas, Sofia B, 2013. "Can Household Consumers Save the Wild Fish? Lessons from a Sustainable Seafood Advisory," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt29v6w5sp, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:agrebk:qt29v6w5sp
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Alexis Gutierrez & Thomas F. Thornton, 2014. "Can Consumers Understand Sustainability through Seafood Eco-Labels? A U.S. and UK Case Study," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(11), pages 1-23, November.
    2. Vera Danilina, 2017. "Trade Integration and the Polarisation of Eco-Labelling Strategies," Working Papers halshs-01556484, HAL.
    3. Villas-Boas, Sofia B & Taylor, Rebecca & Krovetz, Hannah, 2016. "Willingness to Pay for Low Water Footprint Food Choices During Drought," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt9vh3x180, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
    4. Elofsson, Katarina & Bengtsson, Niklas & Matsdotter, Elina & Arntyr, Johan, 2016. "The impact of climate information on milk demand: Evidence from a field experiment," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 14-23.
    5. Robert Fonner, 2015. "Willingness to Pay for Multiple Seafood Labels in a Niche Market," Marine Resource Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(1), pages 51-70.
    6. repec:eee:eneeco:v:68:y:2017:i:c:p:215-227 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Vera Danilina, 2017. "Polarisation of Eco-Labelling Strategies," Working Papers 2017.26, FAERE - French Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.
    8. repec:nbr:nberch:13949 is not listed on IDEAS

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