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Science or prejudice: The effects of subjective and objective perceptions on Chinese consumers’ preferences for foods from a novel biotechnology

Jintao Zhan, Yubei Ma, Xinye Lv, Meng Xu and Mingyang Zhang

China Agricultural Economic Review, 2019, vol. 12, issue 1, 90-107

Abstract: Purpose - Some researchers argue that consumers’ lack of knowledge is an important factor increasing risk for a new product derived from emerging agricultural technology. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the potential impacts and the differential effects of subjective and objective perceptions on Chinese consumers’ preferences for the application of a novel biotechnology. Design/methodology/approach - Taking transgenic technology as an example and employing data from a survey of 1,000 consumers in Jiangsu Province, the authors develop a mixed-process regression model based on Fishbein’s multiple attributes attitude model. Findings - The results suggest that there are apparent differences between Chinese consumers’ subjective perceptions and objective perceptions concerning transgenic technology and genetically modified (GM) food, and there exists certain selective perceptions of the emerging biotechnology. Having a subjective perception concerning transgenic technology has a positive effect on consumers’ overall attitudes, whereas subjective and objective perceptions concerning GM foods have a negative effect on consumers’ overall attitudes. Self-identification generated from subjective perception occupies a dominant position in determining consumers’ attitudes. Originality/value - Consumers’ attitudes regarding an agricultural product depend on their perception of the attributes of the technology used to produce such a product. This study attempts to distinguish and empirically test urban consumers’ subjective perceptions (self-assessed or perceived) and objective perceptions (obtained from a test) about transgenic technology and GM foods and the impact of these four types of perception on the consumers’ attitudes regarding the application of transgenic technology. In this paper, the authors construct a mixed-process regression model to address the possible endogeneity of the perception variables.

Keywords: Consumer’s attitude; Mixed-process regression; Novel biotechnology; Objective perception; Subjective perception (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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