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Firm heterogeneity in food safety provision: Evidence from aflatoxin tests in Kenya:

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  • Moser, Christine
  • Hoffmann, Vivian

Abstract

The lack of a reliably safe food supply in developing countries imposes major costs on both public health and market performance. This paper addresses the question of whether and why food processing firms voluntarily invest in food safety in the absence of effective regulatory enforcement. Using data from more than 900 maize flour samples representing 23 distinct brands in eastern and central Kenya, we explore the relationship between price, brand, and aflatoxin contamination. Aflatoxin is a toxin common in maize, groundnuts, and other crops around the world; and although it is unobservable to the consumer, it may be correlated with other quality characteristics. We find a strong negative correlation between price and contamination rates, which is consistent with certain brands investing more in quality to avoid loss of reputational capital.

Suggested Citation

  • Moser, Christine & Hoffmann, Vivian, 2015. "Firm heterogeneity in food safety provision: Evidence from aflatoxin tests in Kenya:," IFPRI discussion papers 1416, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:fpr:ifprid:1416
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Fares, M'hand & Rouviere, Elodie, 2010. "The implementation mechanisms of voluntary food safety systems," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 412-418, October.
    2. Kathleen Segerson, 1999. "Mandatory versus voluntary approaches to food safety," Agribusiness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(1), pages 53-70.
    3. A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach & Douglas L. Miller, 2008. "Bootstrap-Based Improvements for Inference with Clustered Errors," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 414-427, August.
    4. Hoffmann, Vivian & Gatobu, Ken Mwithirwa, 2014. "Growing their own: Unobservable quality and the value of self-provisioning," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 168-178.
    5. Gerhard O. Orosel & Klaus G. Zauner, 2011. "Quality Diversity and Prices in Markets for Experience Goods," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(3), pages 709-738, September.
    6. Kirimi, Lilian & Sitko, Nicholas & Jayne, Thom S. & Karin, Francis & Muyanga, Milu & Sheahan, Megan & Flock, James & Bor, Gilbert, 2011. "A Farm Gate-to-Consumer Value Chain Analysis of Kenya's Maize Marketing System," Working Papers 202597, Egerton University, Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development.
    7. Hugo Groote & Clare Narrod & Simon C. Kimenju & Charles Bett & Rosemarie P. B. Scott & Marites M. Tiongco & Zachary M. Gitonga, 2016. "Measuring rural consumers’ willingness to pay for quality labels using experimental auctions: the case of aflatoxin-free maize in Kenya," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 47(1), pages 33-45, January.
    8. Helmut Bester, 1998. "Quality Uncertainty Mitigates Product Differentiation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(4), pages 828-844, Winter.
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    Cited by:

    1. Leroy, Jef L. & Wang, Jia-Sheng & Jones, Kelly, 2015. "Serum aflatoxin B1-lysine adduct level in adult women from Eastern Province in Kenya depends on household socio-economic status: A cross sectional study," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 104-110.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Food safety; aflatoxins; Mycotoxins; Developing countries; Health; regulation; Policies;

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