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Environmental Valuation in Developed Countries

Case Studies

Edited by David Pearce

This is the second of two volumes of case studies that illustrate how environmental economists place values on environmental assets and on the flows of goods and services generated by those assets. This important book assembles studies that discuss broad areas of application of economic valuation – from amenity and pollution through to water and health risks, from forestry to green urban space. In this, his last book, the late David Pearce brought together leading European experts, contributors to some two dozen case studies exploring the frontiers of economic valuation of natural resources and environmental amenity in the developed world.
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Chapter 6: Valuing Perceived Risk of Genetically Modified Food: A Meta-Analysis

Clare Hall, Dominic Moran and David Allcroft


Clare Hall, Dominic Moran and David Allcroft INTRODUCTION The future of genetic modification (GM) technology in European agriculture and food is uncertain. Although the ‘unofficial’ moratorium on commercial planting and importation has been lifted, and new applications are being submitted, there remains a large degree of uncertainty surrounding the willingness of consumers to buy GM products. Despite assurances about the safety of GM foods, consumers still perceive there to be potential risks. Policy-makers, biotechnology companies and food growers need to know the extent of the risk that consumers perceive GM foods to contain, and how this is likely to affect demand. Of particular interest is the reduction or premium required to compensate for negative or positive, perceived or real, product attributes. Stated preference studies (contingent valuation (CV) studies, auction experiments and choice experiments) have been conducted to discover how much consumers would be willing to pay (WTP) to purchase GM foods with traits such as less fat (Buhr et al., 1993), or which require less pesticides in production (Boccaletti and Moro, 2000). However, the majority of stated preference studies have asked how much consumers would be willing to pay to avoid products that contain GM ingredients. Others have asked how cheap GM food would need to be in order to induce consumers to buy (see for example, Burton et al. 2001; Noussair et al. 2001; Chen and Chern, 2002; Mendenhall and Evenson, 2002). In this case the question can be described as willingness to accept compensation (WTA) to...

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