Experimental auctions were used to examine the effects of alternative descriptions of food irradiation on willingness-to-pay for a pork sandwich irradiated to control Trichinella. As expected, a favorable description of irradiation increased willingness-to-pay, and an unfavorable description decreased willingness-to-pay. Notably, when subjects were given both the pro- and anti-irradiation descriptions, the negative description dominated and willingness-to-pay decreased. This was true even though the source of the negative information was identified as being a consumer advocacy group and the information itself was written in a manner that was non-scientific. If this is a widespread phenomenon, the process provides those who make inaccurate claims about new technologies a greater incentive than would otherwise be the case.
Journal of Risk and Uncertainty – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 10, 2004
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