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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter May 6, 2004

Consumer's Resistance to Genetically Modified Foods: The Role of Information in an Uncertain Environment

Wallace E. Huffman, Matthew Rousu, Jason F Shogren and Abebayehu Tegene

Genetically modified (GM) foods have been engulfed in considerable controversy, and the early optimism has been dampened. Information issues—labeling and asymmetric information—are central to the GM-food debate. Furthermore, it is important to understand the reaction in developed countries to GM-foods because they set the tone of the world market in grains, oilseeds, and animal products. New results are reported from a statistical analysis of the market characteristics that push consumers in a high-income country to resist GM foods, with an emphasis on negative information from environmental groups and third-party, verifiable information, which could neutralize private information distributed by interested parties. A unique sample of adult consumers participated in laboratory auctions of three food products with randomized labeling and information treatments. A key finding is that GM information supplied by environmental groups increases the probability that consumers are out of the market for GM-foods. Third-party verifiable information, however, dissipates most of the negative effect of the environmental group perspective. Selective adoption of GM crops seems likely to raise world welfare but Western Europe’s banning of GM imports and technology will largely affect them negatively.

Published Online: 2004-5-6

©2011 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston

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