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Expanding the Focus of Cost-Benefit Analysis for Food Safety: A Multi-Factorial Risk Prioritization Approach


  • Julie A. Caswell

    () (Department of Resource Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst)


A pressing need in the area of food safety is a tool for making overall, macro judgments about which risks should be given priority for management. Governments often seek to base this prioritization on public health impacts only to find that other considerations also influence the prioritization process. A multi-factorial approach formally recognizes that public health, market-level impacts, consumer risk preferences and acceptance, and the social sensitivity of particular risks all play a role in prioritization. It also provides decision makers with a variety of information outputs that allow risk prioritization to be considered along different dimensions. Macro-level prioritization of risks based on multiple factors is an important expanded use of cost-benefit analysis to manage risk.

Suggested Citation

  • Julie A. Caswell, 2008. "Expanding the Focus of Cost-Benefit Analysis for Food Safety: A Multi-Factorial Risk Prioritization Approach," Working Papers 2008-8, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Resource Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:dre:wpaper:2008-8

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Krupnick, Alan & Taylor, Michael & Batz, Michael & Hoffmann, Sandra & Tick, Jody & Morris, Glenn & Sherman, Diane, 2004. "Identifying the Most Significant Microbiological Foodborne Hazards to Public Health: A New Risk Ranking Model," Discussion Papers dp-frsc-dp-01, Resources For the Future.
    2. Spencer J. Henson & Julie Caswell & John A. L. Cranfield & Aamir Frazil & Valerie J. Davidson & Sven M. Anders & Claudia Schmidt, 2007. "A Multi-Factorial Risk Prioritization Framework for Food-Borne Pathogens," Working Papers 2007-8, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Resource Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ramo Barrena & Mercedes Sánchez, 2010. "Differences in Consumer Abstraction Levels as a Function of Risk Perception," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(1), pages 34-59.

    More about this item


    cost-benefit analysis; food safety; risk prioritization;

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy
    • K32 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Energy, Environmental, Health, and Safety Law
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government

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