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Ignorance Is Bliss? Experimental Evidence on Wine Produced from Grapes Irrigated with Recycled Water

Tongzhe Li (), Jill McCluskey () and Kent D. Messer

Ecological Economics, 2018, vol. 153, issue C, 100-110

Abstract: Agricultural industries are heavy users of water, which can be especially concerning in times of drought. One way to address agriculture's impact during droughts is to use recycled water for irrigation, but little is known about how consumers will respond to information disclosing that a food product was produced with recycled water. On the positive side, irrigation with recycled water is environmentally friendly. On the negative side, there is an “ick” factor that might repel consumers. We conducted a framed field experiment to evaluate consumers' responses to California and French wines made from grapes produced with recycled, conventional, and an unspecified type of water for irrigation. We find that consumers prefer not to know; their willingness to pay is greatest when the wine is made from grapes irrigated with an unspecified type of water. There is a discount for conventional irrigation water for both California and French wines, but it is statistically significant only for the California wines.

Keywords: Product labeling; Stigma; Environmental benefits; Information; Framed field experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D12 L15 O13 Q55 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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