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The Welfare Effects of Pfiesteria-Related Fish Kills: A Contingent Behavior Analysis of Seafood Consumers

George Parsons, Ash Morgan (), John Whitehead () and Tim Haab ()

Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, 2006, vol. 35, issue 2

Abstract: We use contingent behavior analysis to study the effects of pfiesteria-related fish kills on the demand for seafood in the Mid-Atlantic region. We estimate a set of demand difference models based on individual responses to questions about seafood consumption in the presence of fish kills and with different amounts of information provided about health risks. We use a random-effects Tobit model to control for correlation across each observation and to account for censoring. We find that (i) pfiesteria-related fish kills have a significant negative effect on the demand for seafood even though the fish kills pose no known threat to consumers through sea-food consumption, (ii) seafood consumers are not responsive to expert risk information designed to reassure them that seafood is safe in the presence of a fish kill, and (iii) a mandatory seafood inspection program largely eliminates the welfare loss incurred due to misinformation.

Keywords: pfiesteria; seafood demand; non-market valuation; Resource /Energy Economics and Policy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2006
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