Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date

2021

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Economics

First Advisor

Deepthi Kolady

Abstract

Even though genetically modified (GM) crops have a lot of economic potential for producers and consumers, they have not been widely accepted due to increasing concerns related to food safety, human, animal, and environmental health. Unlike GM technology, genome-editing technology does not involve the transfer of genetic materials. It is simpler, cheaper, more precise, and faster relative to GM technology and has immense potential for incorporating producer and consumer traits. Genome-editing technology, as a novel process, not has been explored much from the consumer’s side. This study uses a nationally representative survey of 1,573 U.S. consumers to examine their acceptance and willingness to pay for genome-edited foods and GM foods. We used discrete choice experiments to estimate consumers’ willingness to pay for genome-edited foods and GM foods. To evaluate the effects of information, we included a control and two versions of information treatments. In treatment 1 (T1) we provided information on technological details, whereas in treatment 2 (T2) we provided the information on both technological details and their health and environmental benefits. We employed a random parameter logit model to estimate consumers’ willingness to pay (WTP) for genome-edited food products. We used cluster analysis to identify consumer segments based on their attitudinal indices. The consumer characteristics and willingness to consume GM and genome edited foods are assessed within the identified clusters. Further, we used multivariate probit model to examine differences between and similarities among the determinants of the current consumption of GM foods and the future consumption of GM and genome-edited foods. Findings from the study show that consumers’ WTP for GM and genome-edited foods are similar, but lower than the WTP for conventionally bred food. WTP for genome-edited foods differ based on food types. Provision of information with specific health and environmental benefits has a significant effect on WTP for genome-edited foods. Consumers’ perceptions and acceptance of GM and genome-edited foods are similar to one another. Consumer were divided in three categories: uncertainty-loving, uncertainty-neutral and uncertainty-averse. Uncertainty-loving consumers were found to have positive attitudes toward future consumption of GM and genome-edited foods. Unlike WTP, willingness to consume for GM and genome-edited foods do not vary by food type. Information provision has no effect on the likelihood of acceptance of genome-edited foods, it reduces the likelihood of accepting GM foods. Consumers trust domestic start-ups and universities more than multinational firms as technology developers.

Number of Pages

107

Publisher

South Dakota State University

Rights

Copyright © 2021 Bindu Paudel

Available for download on Thursday, June 15, 2023

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