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The Missing Link between Research and Reality: the significance of the relationship between retail format and organic food consumption

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  • Chad M. Baum

    () (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group, Jena)

Abstract

The impact that the retail format has on the level of individual motivation tends to be overlooked in discussions of the determinants of organic consumption, this neglect due to the tendency to model individual and contextual factors separately. Hence, the dominant research paradigm has difficulty accounting for the differences in energy and motivation across consumers. Moreover, in spite of the expansions to the set of contextual factors, this paradigm is unable to increase the 'reality' of descriptions of consumer behavior so long as such attempts are then filtered back through modeling frameworks initially developed to address different questions. To illustrate the dual importance of asking the right questions and using appropriate models, this paper utilizes a modeling exercise to explore the consequences of using two prevalent modeling approaches that utilize a limited form of the relationship between individual and retail format to explain the level of motivation. By illustrating the potential for omitted variable bias and misleading policy implications, it is argued that novel modeling approaches are necessary to integrate the broader range of relationships that exist, as well as the relevance of these relationships to the level of motivation.

Suggested Citation

  • Chad M. Baum, 2013. "The Missing Link between Research and Reality: the significance of the relationship between retail format and organic food consumption," Jena Economic Research Papers 2013-049, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  • Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2013-049
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    organic food; consumer behavior; retail formats; motivation; economic modeling;

    JEL classification:

    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • C60 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - General
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory

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