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Consumer Attitudes and Market Resistance to Biotech Products

Wallace Huffman and Matt Rousu
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Matt Rousu: Susquehanna University

Chapter Chapter 10 in Regulating Agricultural Biotechnology: Economics and Policy, 2006, pp 201-225 from Springer

Abstract: Abstract Society has had about 11,000 years of experience with domestication of plants and crop improvement, and 10,000 years with domestication of animals and livestock improvement. Breeding practices in plants have progressed in stages from weak forms of selection, to strong forms of selection, and then to hybridization, mutagenesis, and biotechnology with selection. Only the use of modern biotechnology has created consumer concerns. Current genetically modified (GM) products have been developed primarily from so-called input traits, and consumers tend to see little direct benefit and some risks. U.S. consumers are, however, more receptive than European consumers to GM products. Consumers have expressed a strong preference for GM-content labeling when it is costless, but their preferences drop off dramatically when it is costly. Mandatory labeling is not required in the United States and voluntary labeling would require that non-GM products be labeled; they are the superior product currently. However, this would not meet EU labeling and traceability requirements. The empirical evidence is that U.S. consumers discount GM products a little and EU consumers by a larger amount. U.S. consumer demand for GM products has been shown to respond to biotech industry, environmental, and third-party information differently, depending on the amount of prior information that they have. Those who are uninformed are most affected by anti-biotech and pro-tech information.

Keywords: consumer acceptance; GM products; GM-labeled products; tolerance levels; information effects; prior beliefs; pro-biotech; anti-biotech; economic experiments; nth-price auction; segregation; input traits; rBST; industry perspective; environmental group perspective; third-party perspective (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2006
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DOI: 10.1007/978-0-387-36953-2_10

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