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Does Information Change Behavior?


  • Huffman, Wallace


This paper reviews and synthesizes the theory of information economics and empirical evidence on how information changes the behavior of consumers, households and firms. I show that consumers respond to new information in food experiments but perhaps not in retirement account management. Some seeming perverse consumer/investor decision making may be a result of a complex decision with a low expected payoff.

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  • Huffman, Wallace, 2009. "Does Information Change Behavior?," Staff General Research Papers Archive 13128, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:13128

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Huffman, Wallace E. & Rousu, Matthew & Shogren, Jason F. & Tegene, Abebayehu, 2007. "The effects of prior beliefs and learning on consumers' acceptance of genetically modified foods," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 193-206, May.
    2. Huffman, Wallace E., 2001. "Human capital: Education and agriculture," Handbook of Agricultural Economics,in: B. L. Gardner & G. C. Rausser (ed.), Handbook of Agricultural Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 7, pages 333-381 Elsevier.
    3. Viscusi, W Kip, 1997. "Alarmist Decisions with Divergent Risk Information," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1657-1670, November.
    4. Wallace E. Huffman & Richard E. Just, 2000. "Setting Efficient Incentives for Agricultural Research: Lessons from Principal-Agent Theory," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 82(4), pages 828-841.
    5. James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian, 2005. "Are Empowerment and Education Enough? Underdiversification in 401(k) Plans," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 36(2), pages 151-214.
    6. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2000. "The Contributions of the Economics of Information to Twentieth Century Economics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1441-1478.
    7. 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.
    8. John Beshears & James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian, 2009. "The Importance of Default Options for Retirement Saving Outcomes: Evidence from the United States," NBER Chapters,in: Social Security Policy in a Changing Environment, pages 167-195 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Huffman, Wallace E. & Tegene, Abebayehu, 2002. "Public Acceptance of and Benefits from Agricultural Biotechnology: A Key Role for Verifiable Information," Staff General Research Papers Archive 10430, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    10. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    11. Schultz, Theodore W, 1975. "The Value of the Ability to Deal with Disequilibria," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 827-846, September.
    12. Matthew Rousu & Wallace E. Huffman & Jason F. Shogren & Abebayehu Tegene, 2007. "Effects And Value Of Verifiable Information In A Controversial Market: Evidence From Lab Auctions Of Genetically Modified Food," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(3), pages 409-432, July.
    13. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2002. "Social Value of Public Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1521-1534, December.
    14. Huffman, Wallace E. & Orazem, Peter F., 2007. "Agriculture and Human Capital in Economic Growth: Farmers, Schooling and Nutrition," Handbook of Agricultural Economics, Elsevier.
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    moral hazard; information economics; consumer behavior; behavioral economics; adverse selection;

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