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Role of Information on Consumers’ Willingness-to-pay for Genetically-modified Rice with Health Benefits: An Application to China

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Abstract

Despite their potential health benefits, the controversial nature surrounding the use of GM technology in biofortified crops remains a subject of discussion. This paper investigates the role of information on willingness-to-pay for folate-biofortified rice in a Chinese folate-deficient region. We conducted second price auctions with 252 women of childbearing age, split up into two target groups based on street (n = 132, non-student sample) or school auctions (n = 120, student sample). Notwithstanding a general positive effect of folate-related information (i.e. content, benefits and regional situation), evidence reveals that the non-student sample is less concerned about GM technology. The results also provide insight into serial position effects in conflicting GM information. Whereas participants in the non-student sample are more prone to a primacy bias when receiving both positive and negative information, an alarmist reaction is observed in the student sample. This study highlights the need for segmented, targeted communication strategies on biofortification.

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