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The Effects of Prior Beliefs and Learning on Consumers' Acceptance of Genetically Modified Foods

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

In most environments, information is critical to consumersï¾’ decision making. Consumers have prior beliefs about quality and price of goods and services and obtain new information which is used to update these prior beliefs or to form posterior beliefs, i.e., Bayesian learning. New food products made from herbicide-tolerant and insect-resistant crops using bioengineering, have appeared in U.S. supermarkets starting in 1996. The objective of this paper is to examine in depth the role of consumerï¾’s prior beliefs about genetic modification and of diverse, new information on their willingness to pay for foods that might be genetically modified. One hypothesis is that prior beliefs matter and, second, consumers give less weight to information from interested than disinterested par ties. We use a unique data set collected from a set of economics experiments to show that consumers who had informed prior beliefs behaved as if they placed more trust in the third-party information than in information from interested parties. Participants whose prior beliefs were uninformed revealed greater variation in their bidding behavior than informed participants.

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File URL: http://www.econ.iastate.edu/sites/default/files/publications/papers/p5525-2004-11-03.pdf
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Paper provided by Iowa State University, Department of Economics in its series Staff General Research Papers with number 12212.

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Date of creation: 03 Nov 2004
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Publication status: Published in Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 2007, vol. 63, pp. 193-206
Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:12212
Contact details of provider: Postal: Iowa State University, Dept. of Economics, 260 Heady Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1070
Phone: +1 515.294.6741
Fax: +1 515.294.0221
Web page: http://www.econ.iastate.edu
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  1. Paul Milgrom & John Roberts, 1986. "Relying on the Information of Interested Parties," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(1), pages 18-32, Spring.
  2. Rousu, Matthew & Huffman, Wallace & Shogren, Jason F. & Tegene, Abebayehu, 2002. "The Value of Verifiable Information in a Controversial Market: Evidence from Lab Auctions of Genetically Modified Food," Staff General Research Papers 10009, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  3. John A. Fox & Jason F. Shogren & Dermot J. Hayes & James B. Kliebenstein, 1998. "CVM-X: Calibrating Contingent Values with Experimental Auction Markets," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 80(3), pages 455-465.
  4. Huffman, Wallace E. & Tegene, Abebayehu, 2002. "Public Acceptance of and Benefits from Agricultural Biotechnology: A Key Role for Verifiable Information," Staff General Research Papers 10430, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  5. George J. Stigler, 1961. "The Economics of Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 69, pages 213.
  6. Huffman, Wallace & Shogren, J. E. & Rousu, M. & Tegene, Abebayehu, 2003. "Consumer Willingness to Pay for Genetically Modified Food Labels in a Market with Diverse Information: Evidence from Experimental Auctions," Staff General Research Papers 12256, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  7. Huffman, Wallace, 2001. "Human Capital, Education, and Agriculture," Staff General Research Papers 10438, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  8. Carlson, Andrea & Kinsey, Jean D. & Nadav, Carmel, 1998. "Who Eats What, When, And From Where?," Working Papers 14312, University of Minnesota, The Food Industry Center.
  9. Schultz, Theodore W, 1975. "The Value of the Ability to Deal with Disequilibria," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 827-46, September.
  10. Lusk, Jayson L. & Daniel, M. Scott & Mark, Darrell R. & Lusk, Christine L., 2000. "Alternative Calibration And Auction Institutions For Predicting Consumer Willingness-To-Pay For Non-Genetically Modified Corn Chips," 2000 Annual Meeting, June 29-July 1, 2000, Vancouver, British Columbia 36424, Western Agricultural Economics Association.
  11. Shogren, Jason F. & Margolis, Michael & Koo, Cannon & List, John A., 2001. "A random nth-price auction," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 46(4), pages 409-421, December.
  12. Fox, John A & Hayes, Dermot J & Shogren, Jason F, 2002. " Consumer Preferences for Food Irradiation: How Favorable and Unfavorable Descriptions Affect Preferences for Irradiated Pork in Experimental Auctions," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 75-95, January.
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  15. Kinsey, Jean D. & Wolfson, Paul J. & Katsaras, Nikolaos & Senauer, Benjamin, 2001. "Data Mining: A Segmentation Analysis Of U.S. Grocery Shoppers," Working Papers 14335, University of Minnesota, The Food Industry Center.
  16. Grether, David M., . "Bayes Rule as a Descriptive Model: The Representativeness Heuristic," Working Papers 245, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  17. Johnston, Robert J. & Roheim, Cathy A. & Donath, Holger & Asche, Frank, 2001. "Measuring Consumer Preferences For Ecolabeled Seafood: An International Comparison," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 26(01), July.
  18. Matthew C. Rousu & Wallace E. Huffman & Jason F. Shogren & Abebayehu Tegene, 2004. "Estimating the Public Value of Conflicting Information: The Case of Genetically Modified Foods," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 80(1), pages 125-135.
  19. Akerlof, George A, 1970. "The Market for 'Lemons': Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500, August.
  20. Fernandez-Cornejo, Jorge & McBride, William D., 2002. "Adoption Of Bioengineered Crops," Agricultural Economics Reports 33957, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  21. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2002. "Social Value of Public Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1521-1534, December.
  22. Peter A. Diamond & Jerry A. Hausman, 1994. "Contingent Valuation: Is Some Number Better than No Number?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 45-64, Fall.
  23. 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.
  24. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. " Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
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