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 Front Cover
 Abstract
 Table of Contents
 Introduction
 Consumer characteristics and...
 Consumer behavior when GM products...
 Consumer behavior with mandatory...
 Consumer behavior under mandatory...
 No labeling versus mandatory...
 Concluding remarks
 Reference






Title: Consumption effects of genetic modification
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 Material Information
Title: Consumption effects of genetic modification
Alternate Title: EPTD discussion paper ; no. 69
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Giannakas, Konstantinos.
Fulton, Murray
Publisher: Environment and Production Technology Division, International Food Policy Research Institute
Place of Publication: Washington, D. C.
Publication Date: December, 2000
Copyright Date: 2000
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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Abstract
        Abstract
    Table of Contents
        Table of Contents
    Introduction
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
    Consumer characteristics and behavior
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
    Consumer behavior when GM products are not labeled
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
    Consumer behavior with mandatory labeling and full compliance
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
    Consumer behavior under mandatory labeling: The effect of mislabeling
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
    No labeling versus mandatory labeling
        Page 23
        Page 24
    Concluding remarks
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
    Reference
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
Full Text








EPTD DISCUSSION PAPER NO. 69


CONSUMPTION EFFECTS OF GENETIC MODIFICATION:
WHAT IF CONSUMERS ARE RIGHT?


Konstantinos Giannakas and Murray Fulton




Environment and Production Technology Division

International Food Policy Research Institute
2033 K Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006 U.S.A.







December 2000





EPTD Discussion Papers contain preliminary material and research results, and are circulated
prior to afull peer review in order to stimulate discussion and critical comment. It is expected that most
Discussion Papers will eventually be published in some other form, and that their content may also be
revised.












EPTD DISCUSSION PAPER NO. 69


CONSUMPTION EFFECTS OF GENETIC MODIFICATION:
WHAT IF CONSUMERS ARE RIGHT?


Konstantinos Giannakas and Murray Fulton




Environment and Production Technology Division

International Food Policy Research Institute
2033 K Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006 U.S.A.







December 2000





EPTD Discussion Papers contain preliminary material and research results, and are circulated
prior to a full peer review in order to stimulate discussion and critical comment. It is expected that most
Discussion Papers will eventually be published in some other form, and that their content may also be
revised.









ABSTRACT


This paper develops a model of differentiated consumers to examine the

consumption effects of genetic modification (GM) under alternative labeling regimes and

segregation enforcement scenarios. Analytical results show that if consumers perceive

GM products as being different than their traditional counterparts, genetic modification

affects consumer welfare and, thus, consumption decisions. When the existence of market

imperfections in one or more stages of the supply chain prevents the transmission of cost

savings associated with the new technology to consumers, genetic modification results in

welfare losses for consumers. The analysis shows that the relative welfare ranking of the

"no labeling" and "mandatory labeling" regimes depends on: (i) the level of consumer

aversion to genetic modification, (ii) the size of marketing and segregation costs under

mandatory labeling; (iii) the share of the GM product to total production; and (iv) the

extent to which GM products are incorrectly labeled as non-GM products.









CONTENTS



1. Introduction ............................................................................................................... 1

2. Consumer Characteristics and Behavior........................................................... 4

3. Consumer Behavior When GM Products Are Not Labeled ..................................... 7

4. Consumer Behavior With Mandatory Labeling and Full Compliance ............... 13

5. Consumer Behavior Under Mandatory Labeling: The Effect of Mislabeling........ 20

6. No Labeling versus Mandatory Labeling .......................................... .......... ... 23

7. Concluding Rem arks......................................................................................... 25

R eferences......................................................................................................................... 28








CONSUMPTION EFFECTS OF GENETIC MODIFICATION:
WHAT IF CONSUMERS ARE RIGHT?


Konstantinos Giannakas and Murray Fulton*



1. INTRODUCTION


Consumer concern about genetically modified (GM) food is one of the most

notable features of agricultural biotechnology. Unlike farmers who have seen agronomic

benefits in the new technology and have quickly adopted transgenic plants such as Bt

cotton and corn and herbicide-resistant soybeans and canola (Economic Research

Service), consumers have expressed reservations about the foods produced from these

crops. Consumer opposition to genetic modification started in Europe and has spread to

other countries.

An Angus Reid poll in eight countries (France, Germany, UK, Australia, Canada,

U.S., Japan, and Brazil) found that, among people aware of genetically modified foods,

68 per cent on average indicate they would be "less likely" to purchase a food product if

they knew it contained genetically modified ingredients. The proportion of respondents

expressing aversion to GM foods varied between 57 per cent in the US and 83 per cent in

Germany (Economist, 2000). In an earlier poll in the UK (MORI poll), 77 per cent of


Konstantinos Giannakas is an Assistant Professor in the Department of
Agricultural Economics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Murray Fulton is a
Professor and the Head of the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of
Saskatchewan. This work was carried out with partial support from the IFPRI-led project
on agricultural genetic resources and biotechnology policies. This project is primarily
funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), with
additional support from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).







those surveyed favored a ban on GM food. Consumer resistance to genetic modification

is founded on health, environmental, moral and philosophical concerns about the "new"

practice (Hobbs and Plunkett; Lindner).

In response to this consumer reaction, a number of food companies such as Marks

and Spencer, McDonalds, Sainsbury, and Tesco in the UK, Nestle in Switzerland,

Carrefour in France, McCains in Canada, and Frito Lay in the U.S., have indicated that

they are only accepting/selling non-GM products. Governments in the European Union

and elsewhere have also responded by introducing mandatory labeling or by banning

specific GM products (i.e. GM corn and canola in Austria, France, Greece, and

Luxembourg) (Hobbs and Plunkett; Runge and Jackson). A requirement of the Biosafety

Protocol signed by 130 countries in Montreal earlier this year is that shipments of food

products that may contain GMOs are to be labeled as such.

While labeling of food products satisfies consumer demand for the right to make

informed consumption decisions (Caswell and Mojduszka; Caswell), the introduction of

segregation and labeling raises a number of issues that affect everyone in the food chain.

One issue is the added costs that segregation and labeling introduce and the economic

impact of these costs on consumers. A second issue is that segregation and labeling

activities create incentives for the misrepresentation and mislabeling of genetically

modified food as traditional food. Although there is a growing literature on the nature and

origin of consumer attitudes towards GM products, most of the analysis on the economic

consequences of these attitudes is rather heuristic in nature. An exception is the paper by

Plunkett and Gaisford who examine the welfare effects of introducing GM products, but

do not consider consumer heterogeneity or examine the possibility of mislabeling.








The objective of this paper is to develop a conceptual model that examines the

consumption effects of genetic modification under alternative labeling regimes and

segregation enforcement scenarios. More specifically, the paper analyzes the effect of

genetically modified foods on the welfare and purchasing decisions of consumers under:

(i) no labeling; (ii) mandatory labeling under full compliance; (iii) and mandatory

labeling when misrepresentation of the type of the product (i.e. mislabeling) occurs.

In analyzing the consumption effects of genetic modification, this paper explicitly

accounts for consumer heterogeneity. To capture the different attitudes towards genetic

modification, consumers are postulated to differ in the utility they derive from the

consumption of GM food and therefore in their willingness to pay for this product.

Consumer heterogeneity is critical in understanding how a demand for both GM and non-

GM products exists when labeling occurs.

In this paper, the term genetically modified products refers to transgenics the

products in which some form of gene "splicing" has occurred. The new technology is

assumed to generate production cost savings while having no effect on product

characteristics that are observable by consumers; the analysis thus applies to goods that

are credence in nature.

The title of the paper stems from the major result of the analysis, namely that if

consumers perceive GM food to be different from its non-GM counterpart, then there is a

reasonable expectation that a percentage of consumers will correctly believe that the

introduction of GM food lowers their utility and would prefer to see the product banned.

The key factors that determine the magnitude of this welfare loss are the degree of

aversion to GM foods, the degree to which the cost savings at the farm level are not








passed through to consumers, and the magnitude of the costs associated with segregating

non-GM products from GM products. Although this group would like to ban GM

products, when faced with the introduction of GM products as a given, this group will

prefer mandatory labeling to no labeling.

The paper is structured as follows. Section 2 presents the conceptual model of the

paper. Sections 3, 4, and 5 examine the effect of genetic modification on consumer

decisions and welfare under no labeling, mandatory labeling with full compliance, and

mandatory labeling with mislabeling, respectively. Section 6 compares and contrasts the

no labeling and the mandatory labeling regimes while Section 7 summarizes and

concludes the paper.


2. CONSUMER CHARACTERISTICS AND BEHAVIOR


The rise of consumer concerns over GM products and the diversity of these

concerns suggests that consumers differ in their willingness to pay for GM versus non-

GM food products. In the simplest case consider a consumer that consumes one unit of

either a traditional, a GM, or a substitute product. Assuming that the consumer spends a

small fraction of total expenditure on the goods in question, her utility function can be

written as:

U, =U If a unit of traditional product is consumed

Ug =U- p, If a unit of GM product is consumed

Us =U If a unit of a substitute product is consumed








where U, is the utility associated with purchasing one unit of the traditional product,

U, is the utility associated with purchasing one unit of the GM version of the traditional

product, and U, is the utility associated with purchasing one unit of a substitute product.1

The price of the traditional product is Pt, the price of its GM counterpart is p,, and the

price of the substitute product is ps. The parameter U is a per unit base level of utility

while the term Xc gives the discount in utility from consuming GM product.2 The

parameter X is a non-negative utility discount factor while the characteristic c differs

according to consumer and captures the consumer's aversion towards GM products. To

simplify the analysis, the characteristic c takes values between zero and one. Consumers

with large values of c prefer the traditional product rather than the GM product, all else

equal. The assumption that Xc is greater than or equal to zero is consistent with evidence

showing that consumers are either indifferent or opposed to genetic modification (Hobbs

and Plunkett). The analysis initially assumes that consumers are uniformly distributed

between the polar values of c. This assumption is then modified to allow a bunching or a

concentration of consumers at the ends of the spectrum (i.e. zero and one).


SOne example of a product that could be supplied in both a traditional and a GM
form is margarine made from canola. In this case, butter can be thought of as a substitute
product. A second example could be corn chips (made from traditional or GM corn); the
substitute product is potato chips. Other examples of traditional, GM, and substitute
products include meat coming from animals fed with (traditional or GM) corn or soybean
versus meat coming from animals that are barley fed. For simplicity and without loss of
generality, it is assumed that the substitute product (butter, potato chips and meat coming
from barley fed animals in the preceding examples) is free of GM ingredients. The
implications of relaxing this assumption are discussed below in footnote 5.
2 U can also be interpreted as the maximum willingness-to-pay (wtp) for a unit of
the traditional or the substitute product. In such a case, consumer maximum wtp for the
GM product equals U-kc. The difference between the wtp and the price of the
(traditional, the GM, or the substitute) product provides then an estimate of the relevant
consumer surplus.











Figure 1 illustrates the situation where no GM product has been introduced. By


assumption, the net utility associated with the traditional good is greater than that


associated with the substitute good, i.e., U p, > U ps, for all consumers. In such a



case, all consumers purchase the traditional good and total consumer welfare is given by


the shaded area in Figure 1. The effect of introducing GM products into the market is


examined in the sections below.






Figure 1 Consumer Decisions and Welfare Prior to the Introduction of GM Food




Consumer Utility










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U-pt
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Differentiating Consumer Attribute (c)


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3. CONSUMER BEHAVIOR WHEN GM PRODUCTS ARE NOT LABELED


Consider first the situation where a GM product is introduced, but no labeling of

the product is carried out. Because the GM product and its traditional counterpart are

marketed together, the price faced by the consumer, pn, is the same regardless of which

product is purchased. The lack of information about the type of the product being sold

means that consumers are uncertain as to the nature of the product they purchase. Since

the presence or absence of the genetic modification is not detectable with either search or

experience, the genetic modification can be referred to as a credence characteristic

(Nelson). Assuming a probability of y that the non-labeled product purchased is GM,

consumer utility is now:3



Uni = U- p,n -WXc if a unit of non-labeled product is consumed

Us = U ps if a unit of a substitute product is consumed



where U,, is the expected per unit utility associated with purchasing the non-labeled

product (i.e. U,, = Ug, + (1 -\)U, ).

The consumption choice of the individual consumer is determined by the

relationship between the utilities derived from the non-labeled product and the substitute.

More specifically, the consumer with aversion to GM product given by:

3 The probability that the non-labeled product is GM can be seen as reflecting the
share of the GM product to total production (i.e., the portion of margarine that is
genetically modified in the example provided in footnote 1). The greater is the production
share of the GM version of the product, the greater is the likelihood that the non-labeled
product is GM.










Ps Pnl
Cn : UnI = Us n n =




is indifferent between consuming a unit of non-labeled product and a unit of the

substitute-the utility associated with the consumption of these offerings is the same.

Obviously, consumers with a lower aversion to genetic modification (i.e. consumers with

ce [0, c* )) will prefer the non-labeled product while consumers with higher aversion to

GM products (i.e. consumers with ce(c*,, 1]) will consume the substitute.4

Since consumers have been assumed to be uniformly distributed with respect to

their aversion to genetic modification, the level of aversion corresponding to the

indifferent consumer, cnI, also determines the share of the non-labeled product to total

consumption, s,n. The consumption share of the substitute, ss, is given by 1- c*t. More

specifically, s,n and s, can be written as:



si Ps Pnl =nIt) and
= X (=n) and


Ps Pnl
s =1





4 The focus of the analysis on individuals that were consumers of the product
prior to its genetic modification guarantees the positive sign of c,,. More specifically, for
consumers to prefer the product prior to its genetic modification it should hold that
U p, > U ps where pt represents the price of the product before genetic engineering.
Due to the cost savings associated with the new technology, the price of the non-labeled
product pni will be less than, or equal to, pt.








Figure 2 graphs the determination ofs,,n and ss. The downward sloping curve

graphs the utility associated with the unit consumption of the non-labeled product for

different levels of the differentiating attribute c, while the (continuous) horizontal line

shows the utility derived from the consumption of the substitute. The dashed U p,

curve is the utility curve prior to genetic modification. Thus, Figure 2 is constructed on

the assumption that the price of the non-labeled product equals the price of the traditional

product, i.e., pni = Pt






Figure 2 Consumption Decisions and Welfare Effects Under Genetic Modification and
No Labeling


Consumer Utility


U ps


U-p,
U-p,


4 Sni 1


slope = MIX


4 ss


Differentiating Consumer Attribute (c)


I U-p,








The intersection of the two (continuous) utility curves determines the level of the

differentiating attribute that corresponds to the indifferent consumer, c,,n, as well as the

consumption shares of the non-labeled product and the substitute. Consumers "located"

to the left of c*n purchase the non-labeled product while consumers located to the right of

cl find it optimal to consume the substitute. Consumer welfare under no labeling is

given by the area under the effective utility curve shown as the bold kinked curve in

Figure 2.5

Comparative statics results can easily be drawn from this model. More

specifically, a decrease in the price of the non-labeled product shifts the Uni curve

upwards and increases s,n while an increase in the price of the substitute causes a

downward shift of the Us curve that increases s,n (i.e. sn < 0 and sni > 0). Finally an
p,,, aps

increase in X (i.e. an increase in the utility discount from consuming GM product for any

level of c) and/or an increase in the likelihood that the non-labeled product is genetically

modified, y, cause a clockwise rotation of the Un curve through the intercept at U pn


that reduces the share of the non-labeled product to total consumption (i.e. -sn < 0 and
ak

8s,,
S<0).


5 Relaxing the assumption that the substitute product (e.g., butter or potato chips
in the examples above) remains free of GM ingredients would result in a clockwise
rotation of the utility curve associated with its consumption through the intercept at U-ps
in Figure 2. Similar to the case of the non-labeled product, the slope of the new utility
curve for the substitute product would be determined by the utility discount factor X, and
the share of the GM version of the substitute product to its total production. Obviously,
genetic modification of the substitute product reduces consumer welfare and increases the
consumption share of the non-labeled product (i.e. margarine, corn chips) relative to the
case where the substitute (i.e., butter or potato chips) remained in its conventional form.







The effect of genetic modification on consumer welfare depends largely on the

effect of the technology introduction on the market price of the non-labeled product. The

effect of genetic modification on the final price of the product determines whether there

will be any gains for consumers as well as the extent of losses due to consumer aversion

to GM technology.

More specifically, if the existence of market imperfections in one or more stages

of the food chain prevents the transfer of the cost savings to the consumers, the price seen

by consumers is not affected by genetic modification. As was noted above, Figure 2 is

constructed on the assumption that the price of the non-labeled product remains

unchanged, i.e. p,, = p,. Under this assumption, the introduction of GM products

represents a loss in welfare to consumers in aggregate. This loss in welfare is given by

the hatched area. Although the consumers located at c = 0 experience no loss in welfare,

all consumers located to the right of this point see their utility falling. The extent of the

realized welfare loss depends on the level of consumer aversion to genetic modification c,

the utility discount factor k, and the likelihood that the non-labeled product is GM, iy.

If the production costs savings due to genetic modification are transferred to

consumers (i.e., in the case of a perfectly competitive food chain), the GM technology

reduces the price of the product relative to the price prior to genetic modification, p, and

consumers with relatively low levels of GM aversion will realize an increase in their

welfare. Consumers with relatively high aversion to GM products experience a reduction

in their welfare since the price effect of genetic modification is outweighed by the utility

discount from GM consumption. Figure 3 graphs the effect of genetic modification on


consumer welfare when p,, < p,.








Figure 3 Welfare Effects when Genetic Modification Reduces the Market Price, (p,, < )



Consumer Utility


-5-


slope = W?


SnI p ss

0 cn
Differentiating Consumer Attribute (c)



The analysis can be easily modified to examine cases where consumers are not

uniformly distributed with respect to their value of c but, rather, are lumped at either end

of the continuum. For instance, when consumers do not perceive GM products as being

different from their conventional counterparts (i.e. when c=0 for all consumers), the

introduction of the new technology will either leave the welfare of consumers unaffected

(case where p,, = Pt, Figure 2), or will make all consumers better off (case where


Pn < Pt, Figure 3). On the other hand, when the aversion of all consumers is relatively

high (i.e. when c=1 for all consumers), genetic modification will cause consumer welfare

to fall. More generally, when the distribution of consumers is continuous (but not


U-pt


U p


U-p,








uniform), the welfare effects of genetic modification depend on its skewness, i.e., the

more skewed is the distribution towards 1, the greater are the losses and the lower are the

gains (when p, < p,) from the introduction of the new technology.

Overall, the results of this section show that genetic modification and no labeling

may result in some consumption switching to the substitute good and a net welfare loss.

If the number of consumers experiencing a welfare loss is substantial, a ban could be both

rational and welfare improving. For net consumer losses to be realized it must hold that:

(i) the price decrease from genetic modification (if any) is relatively small; (ii) the

discount in utility from consuming the GM product is high; (iii) the likelihood that the

non-labeled product is genetically modified is high; and/or (iv) consumers are

concentrated at the right hand edge of the aversion spectrum.


4. CONSUMER BEHAVIOR WITH MANDATORY LABELING AND FULL

COMPLIANCE


Consider now the consumer choice problem in an institutional arrangement with a

mandatory labeling regime in place. In this case, traditional (non-GM) and GM products

are segregated and marketed separately. Consumers now have a choice between a non-

GM labeled product, its GM labeled counterpart, and a substitute product. Consumer

utility is given by:



U- = U pt if a unit of non-GM labeled product is consumed


if a unit of GM labeled product is consumed


U = U Pg" XC








U = U s if a unit of a substitute product is consumed



where p; is the price of the traditional product after the introduction of the new

technology. All other variables are as previously defined.

The GM product and the non-GM product are not necessarily priced the same. In

fact for any (positive) quantity of the GM labeled product to be demanded (i.e. for Ug, to

exceed Ut), pg should be less than p;. There are two reasons why the GM product will

be priced lower than its traditional counterpart. First, mandatory labeling means increased

marketing and segregation costs. These transaction costs associated with identity

preservation cause consumer price to rise. The majority of these costs are incurred in the

non-GM labeled product chain (Lindner), which, in turn, implies that consumers of the

traditional product face a greater price increase.6 Second, it is assumed that GM

technology generates production cost savings at the farm level. Some, if not all, of the

cost savings may be transferred to the consumer of the GM product.

Not only does the existence of marketing and segregation costs imply that

U-pg, > U-pt, the size of these costs significantly affects the consumption shares of the

products being examined. More specifically, the greater are the marketing and

segregation costs, the greater is the price increase of the non-GM labeled product

(relative to the price of the product prior to genetic modification, pt ), and the lower is

the utility associated with the unit consumption of the non-GM labeled product, U,. For


6 The segregation costs are higher for producers of the traditional product due to
the effort required in preserving the identity of their produce by keeping it separate from
the (inferior regarded) genetically modified one.








relatively high marketing and segregation costs, the utility from consuming the non-GM

labeled product might fall below the utility associated with the consumption of the

substitute (i.e. U- p; < U-ps ). In such a case, consumers with a relatively high aversion

to GM products will switch to the substitute product there is no market demand for the

traditional (non-GM) product.

Figure 4 depicts the consumption decisions under mandatory labeling when

marketing and segregation costs are relatively low (i.e. when U- p; > U- p,). In this

case, no consumer switches to the substitute. The consumption shares of the GM and

non-GM labeled products are determined by the intersection of the Ugm and U, utility

curves. The consumer with aversion to genetic modification given by:



Pgm
ci :U-pgm -hXc; =U-Pt > ci =




is indifferent between consuming a unit of GM and non-GM labeled product the utility

associated with the consumption of these offerings is the same. Obviously, consumers

with low aversion to genetic modification (i.e. consumers with ce [0, c;)) prefer the GM

product while consumers with high aversion to GM products (i.e. consumers with ce(cC,

1]) consume the non-GM labeled product.





16


Figure 4 Consumption Decisions and Welfare Effects when Segregation Costs are
Relatively Low (U- pt > U- p,) and pgm< Pt

Consumer Utility


U-Pt


slope = s




SSgm --------- SI


Differentiating Consumer Attribute (c)



When consumers are uniformly distributed between the polar values of c, c* also

determines the share of the GM product to total consumption, Sgm. The consumption share

of the non-GM labeled product, st, is given by 1- c*, i.e.,




s P = P (= c;) and


PSt P
s, =--1
'-P n


U-Pgm
U-P,



U- P
U-ps


Mq








Obviously, the share of the GM labeled product falls with an increase in its price

and/or the utility discount factor and increases with an increase in the price of the non-


GM labeled product (i.e., <0, < 0, g and g > 0).
apg a aP,

When the transaction costs from mandatory labeling are relatively high (i.e. when

U p, < U ps), a portion of consumers switch to the substitute product. The

consumption shares of the GM product and the substitute product are determined by the

intersection of the Ug, and U, curves in Figure 5 and can be written as:




=Ps Pgin(=c) and


Ps Pgm
Ss =




Similar to the case of smaller marketing and segregation costs examined above,

sgm falls with an increase inpg, and/or X and increases with an increase inps (i.e.

asgm gsig asg
- < 0, < 0, and > 0).
apg, ax ap,

The welfare effects of genetic modification under mandatory labeling clearly

depend on the effect of GM technology on the price of the GM product. More

specifically, if the price of the GM product is less than the price of the product prior to its

genetic modification (i.e. ifpgm < p, ) consumers with relatively low aversion to genetic

modification will gain from the new technology. Consumers with relatively high aversion

to GM product experience a reduction in their welfare due to: (i) the utility discount from








GM consumption; and (ii) the price increase of the traditional product caused by the

marketing and segregation costs. Note that forpg, to be reduced relative to pt, two

conditions should be met. First, the market structure must be such that production costs

savings from the GM technology are transferred to consumers and, second, the price

effect of the reduced production costs should outweigh the effect of increased transaction

costs associated with mandatory labeling on the market price of the GM product.

Figure 4 graphs the effect of genetic modification on consumer welfare when

marketing costs are relatively low (i.e. U- pt > U- p,) and pg < pt. The dashed U p,

curve is the utility curve prior to genetic modification. For net consumer gains to be

realized it should hold that: (i) the price decrease from genetic modification is relatively

high, (ii) the discount in utility from consuming the GM product is relatively low, and/or

(iii) the marketing and segregation costs are relatively low. A bunching of consumers at

the left-hand edge or the right-hand edge of the diagram would increase the gain or loss,

respectively.

More specifically, the greater is the price reduction from genetic modification, the

greater is the upward shift of the Ug, curve, the greater are the consumer gains and the

lower is the welfare loss from the new technology. Similarly, the lower is X, the greater is

the slope of the Ugm curve, the greater are the gains and the lower are the consumer

losses from genetic modification. Finally, the greater are the marketing and segregation

costs incurred in the non-GM product chain, the greater is the downward shift of the

U p; curve and the greater are the consumer welfare losses from the new technology.








Figure 5 depicts the welfare effects of genetic modification when the transaction

costs from mandatory labeling are relatively high (i.e. when U- pt < U- p ) andpgm pt.

In this case, there are no consumers gaining from the new technology. The extent of the

realized welfare losses depends on the level of aversion to genetic modification c, the

utility discount factor X, and the level ofpg,.






Figure 5 Consumption Decisions and Welfare Effects when Segregation Costs are
Relatively High (U- pt < U- ps) and pgm > Pt


Consumer Utility


U-Pgm ,


slope = X





4 Sm 0g 4 ss


Differentiating Consumer Attribute (c)


U -p

U-p,







5. CONSUMER BEHAVIOR UNDER MANDATORY LABELING: THE

EFFECT OF MISLABELING


This section of the paper analyzes the consequences of mislabeling on consumer

purchasing decisions and welfare. Mislabeling refers to the case where producers or

processors misrepresent the type of the product sold in the market; they label GM

products as non-GM in an attempt to capture the price premium paid for traditional (non-

GM) produce.

When incidents of mislabeling occur in the food marketing system, consumer

trust in labeling falls. Consumers can be expected to assign a probability to the event that

what is labeled "non-GM" product is in fact genetically modified. Because of the

uncertainty regarding the nature of the product consumed, the utility derived from the

consumption of non-GM labeled product, U", equals 0 [U p; xc]+ (1 -0 )U p;]

where 0 is the likelihood that the non-GM label is false and the product is actually

genetically modified.7

Taking into account this uncertainty, the consumer utility under mislabeling

becomes:

Uy = U p -PO if a unit of non-GM labeled product is consumed

Ug, = U- Pg 5c if a unit of GM labeled product is consumed

Us = U ps if a unit of a substitute product is consumed




7 Note that the consumer utility when the non-GM labeled product is GM is given
by U- p; k (rather than U pg k ) since the price paid for the consumption of the
product is p; (and not pg).








Relative to the situation of full compliance examined in the previous section,

product misrepresentation results in a discount in the utility associated with the

consumption of the non-GM labeled product. Graphically, this utility discount can be

seen as a clockwise rotation of the utility curve associated with the non-GM labeled

product through the intercept at U p, in Figures 5 and 6.



Figure 6 Consumption and Welfare Effects of Mislabeling when Segregation Costs are
Relatively Low (U- p, >U- p,)

Consumer Utility




U-Pgm


U-pI


U-ps
slope = 61

slope = ,


SSgm S -- Ss --

0 C Ci C2

Differentiating Consumer Attribute (c)



Consider first the case where marketing and segregation costs are relatively low

(i.e. U-p; > U- p, ). Compared to the case where mislabeling does not occur, mislabeling

reduces both consumer welfare (shaded area in Figure 6) and the consumption share of








the non-GM labeled product. A portion of the (previously) non-GM labeled product

consumers (i.e. those with c (c cl]) switch to the GM labeled product while consumers

with relatively high level of c (i.e. consumers with ce(c2, 1]) switch to the substitute. The

greater is the probability 0 that the non-GM label is false and/or the greater is the utility

discount from the consumption of GM products, A, the greater are the welfare losses from

mislabeling and the greater is the share of non-GM consumers that switches to GM

product and the substitute.

In the presence of mislabeling, the consumption share of the GM labeled product,

Sg,, equals cl, the share of the non-GM labeled product, st, equals c2-cJ, while 1-C2

percent of consumption moves to the substitute. Mathematically, the consumption shares

can be written as:




P Pt-Pg (=1)


s ( Pt P'~ (= c2 -cl)


ss =1 P-P (=1-c2)




When the marketing and segregation costs are relatively high (i.e. when

U- p; < U- ps), then mislabeling-as opposed to full compliance-has no effect on either

the welfare or the consumption decisions of consumers since in this case no traditional

(non-GM) product is consumed (see Figure 5).








6. NO LABELING VERSUS MANDATORY LABELING


After having analyzed the consumption effects of genetic modification under the

"no labeling" and the "mandatory labeling" regimes, the question that naturally arises is

which labeling regime dominates in terms of its effect on consumer welfare. Or, put in a

different way, since the introduction of GM products can result in net welfare losses

under both the "no labeling" and the "mandatory labeling" regimes, what is the labeling

regime that harms consumers the least?

The determination of the factors affecting the relative performance of the two

labeling regimes is straightforward. Figure 7 shows the effective utility curves under no

labeling (dashed kinked curve) and mandatory labeling under full compliance when the


Figure 7 Mandatory Labeling vs. No Labeling when Segregation Costs are Relatively Low
(U p > U-p,s)


Consumer Utility


U- pl







U-P,
U,,,,, pt
U- t p. ... ..


C
Differentiating Consumer Attribute (c)







marketing and segregation costs are relatively low (solid kinked curve). For simplicity

and without loss of generality the figure depicts the situation where the price of the non-

labeled product p,, equals the price of the GM labeled product pgm.

The shaded area NL reflects consumer utility under the no labeling regime that is

lost when mandatory labeling is introduced. Similarly, the area ML represents consumer

utility that is lost from a switch from mandatory labeling to no labeling. Obviously,

consumers located to the right of c+ will favor mandatory labeling, while for consumers

located to the left of c+ no labeling is the preferred labeling regime. The ranking of the

labeling regimes in terms of their net effect on consumer welfare depends on the relative

size of the shaded areas in Figure 7; ifNL is greater than ML, then no labeling is the

superior labeling regime. Obviously, when the assumption of a uniform distribution of

consumers is relaxed, the welfare ranking of the two labeling regimes is affected by the

skewness of the distribution. In general, the greater is the number of consumers that are

characterized by a relatively high aversion to GM products (i.e. the more skewed towards

one is the distribution of consumers with respect to their value of c), the greater is the

likelihood that mandatory labeling is the preferred labeling regime.

Comparative statics results can easily be derived from Figure 7. For instance, an

increase in the likelihood that the non-labeled product is GM (i.e. an increase in y)

causes a clockwise rotation of the U,i curve (U, = U p,, ,c ) that increases ML and

reduces NL. The greater is \, the greater is the consumer support for mandatory labeling.

Similarly, an increase in the marketing and segregation costs associated with mandatory

labeling will shift the U p; and U pg, Xc curves downward increasing NL and

reducing ML. The greater are the marketing and segregation costs, the greater is the








proportion of consumers favoring no labeling; when marketing and segregation costs are

relatively high (i.e. when U p; < U p ) the area ML vanishes and no labeling is the

superior labeling regime.

Finally, when the assumption of full compliance is relaxed and the possibility of

product misrepresentation is introduced, the mandatory labeling regime becomes even

less appealing from the consumers' standpoint; mislabeling increases the likelihood that

no labeling is superior in terms of its effects on total consumer welfare. The greater is the

probability that mislabeling occurs, the greater are the consumer utility losses under

mandatory labeling, and the greater is the likelihood that an all-or-nothing choice among

the two labeling regimes in terms of their effect on consumer utility will favor no

labeling.


7. CONCLUDING REMARKS


This paper develops a model of differentiated consumers to examine the effects of

genetic modification on the welfare and purchasing behavior of consumers. The

conclusion of this paper is that if consumers perceive GM foods to be different from their

traditional counterparts, then demands for the banning of GM products and GM labeling

are rational. For instance, when the existence of market imperfections in one or more

stages of the supply chain prevents the transmission of the cost savings associated with

the GM technology to consumers, then the introduction of GM foods will generally result

in welfare losses for consumers. This is true no matter the labeling regime that is in place.

Given that GM foods have been introduced into the food system, the analysis also

shows that the relative welfare ranking of the "no labeling" and "mandatory labeling"







regimes depends on: (i) the level of consumer aversion to genetic modification, (ii) the

segregation costs associated with mandatory labeling; (iii) the share of the GM product to

total production; and (iv) the extent of mislabeling. More specifically, the greater are

segregation costs associated with mandatory labeling, the greater is the likelihood that no

labeling is the superior labeling regime. The greater is the likelihood that the non-labeled

product is GM, the greater is the likelihood that mandatory labeling will be preferred.

Finally, when the possibility of product mislabeling is introduced into the

analysis, the desirability of mandatory labeling by consumers falls. The uncertainty about

product characteristics due to mislabeling reduces consumer welfare and drives part of

non-GM product consumers out of the market. The lower is the level of trust in the

labeling system, the greater is the expectation that mislabeling occurs, the greater are the

consumer utility losses under mandatory labeling, and the greater is the likelihood that an

all-or-nothing choice among the two labeling regimes in terms of their welfare

implications favors no labeling.

The results of this paper can provide an explanation of policy decisions about

genetic modification and labeling observed around the world. Relatively low (or zero)

consumer aversion to genetic engineering coupled with a reduced price of GM foods and

significant segregation costs associated with mandatory labeling could be among the

reasons why a "no labeling" policy has been adopted by countries like the United States

and Canada. Increasing consumer concerns, however, and the relatively high level of

consumer trust in the food safety institutions in both countries could increase the relative

efficiency of- and hence the consumer demand for mandatory labeling.








A relatively high aversion to genetic modification coupled with a lack of a price

reduction for GM foods would rationalize mandatory labeling, an outcome seen in

various EU countries. However, a high level of distrust of food safety and inspection

systems can undermine the value of labeling. This result sheds light on the demand for an

outright ban of GM products by some European consumers, since faith in the food

inspection system there has been reduced because of food safety scares such as the

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy crisis in the British beef industry.

In summary, consumer concerns about GM products can be expected to affect

consumption decisions and to influence the public policy response demanded by

consumers. These consumption decisions, along with the decisions made by policy

makers as to how GM products are introduced into the food system, can have significant

impacts on the demand for GM products throughout the food system. These system

effects, in turn, will affect the decisions made by farmers as to which crops they grow and

decisions by life science companies as to the pricing of the GM technology and the

development of new technologies.









REFERENCES


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Economic Research Service. 1999. Genetically Engineered Crops for Pest Management,
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Economist, The. 2000. "Blech." January 15, pp. 69.

Hobbs, J.E. and Plunkett, M.D. 1999. "Genetically Modified Foods: Consumer Issues and
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List of EPTD Discussion Papers


01 Sustainable Agricultural Development Strategies in Fragile Lands, by Sara J.
Scherr and Peter B.R. Hazell, June 1994.

02 Confronting the Environmental Consequences of the Green Revolution in Asia,
by Prabhu L. Pingali and Mark W. Rosegrant, August 1994.

03 Infrastructure and Technology Constraints to Agricultural Development in the
Humid and Subhumid Tropics of Africa, by Dunstan S.C. Spencer, August 1994.

04 Water Markets in Pakistan: Participation and Productivity, by Ruth Meinzen-
Dick and Martha Sullins, September 1994.

05 The Impact of Technical Change in Agriculture on Human Fertility: District-
level Evidence from India, by Stephen A. Vosti, Julie Witcover, and Michael
Lipton, October 1994.

06 Reforming Water Allocation Policy Through Markets in Tradable Water Rights:
Lessons from Chile, Mexico, and California, by Mark W. Rosegrant and Renato
Gazmuri S., October 1994.

07 Total Factor Productivity and Sources ofLong-Term Growth in Indian
Agriculture, by Mark W. Rosegrant and Robert E. Evenson, April 1995.

08 Farm-Nonfarm Growth Linkages in Zambia, by Peter B.R. Hazell and Behjat
Hojjati, April 1995.

09 Livestock and Deforestation in Central America in the 1980s and 1990s: A
Policy Perspective, by David Kaimowitz (Interamerican Institute for
Cooperation on Agriculture), June 1995.

10 Effects of the Structural Adjustment Program on Agricultural Production and
Resource Use in Egypt, by Peter B. R. Hazell, Nicostrato Perez, Gamal Siam and
Ibrahim Soliman, August 1995.

11 Local Organizations for Natural Resource Management: Lessons from
Theoretical and Empirical Literature, by Lise Nordvig Rasmussen and Ruth
Meinzen-Dick, August 1995.








12 Quality-Equivalent and Cost-Adjusted Measurement ofInternational
Competitiveness in Japanese Rice Markets, by Shoichi Ito, Mark W. Rosegrant,
and Mercedita C. Agcaoili-Sombilla, August, 1995.

13 Role ofInputs, Institutions, and Technical Innovations in Stimulating Growth in
Chinese Agriculture, by Shenggen Fan and Philip G. Pardey, September 1995.

14 Investments in African Agricultural Research, by Philip G. Pardey, Johannes
Roseboom, and Nienke Beintema, October 1995.

15 Role of Terms of Trade in Indian Agricultural Growth: A National and State
Level Analysis, by Peter B. R. Hazell, V. N. Misra and Behjat Hojjati, December
1995.

16 Policies and Markets for Non-Timber Tree Products, by Peter A. Dewees and
Sara J. Scherr, March 1996.

17 Determinants ofFarmers' Indigenous Soil and Water Conservation Investments
in India's Semi-Arid Tropics, by John Pender and John Kerr, August 1996.

18 Summary ofa Productive Partnership: The Benefits from U.S. Participation in
the CGIAR, by Philip G. Pardey, Julian M. Alston, Jason E. Christian and
Shenggen Fan, October 1996.

19 Crop Genetic Resource Policy: Towards a Research Agenda, by Brian D.
Wright, October 1996.

20 Sustainable Development ofRainfed Agriculture in India, by John M. Kerr,
November 1996.

21 Impact of Market and Population Pressure on Production, Incomes and Natural
Resources in the Dryland Savannas of West Africa: Bioeconomic Modeling at
the Village Level, by Bruno Barbier, November 1996.

22 Why do Projections on China's Future Food Supply and Demand Differ? by
Shenggen Fan and Mercedita Agcaoili-Sombilla, March 1997.

23 Agroecological Aspects of Evaluating Agricultural R&D, by Stanley Wood and
Philip G. Pardey, March 1997.

24 Population Pressure, Land Tenure, and Tree Resource Management in Uganda,
by Frank Place and Keijiro Otsuka, March 1997.








25 Should India Invest More in Less-favored Areas? by Shenggen Fan and Peter
Hazell, April 1997.

26 Population Pressure and the Microeconomy of Land Management in Hills and
Mountains ofDeveloping Countries, by Scott R. Templeton and Sara J. Scherr,
April 1997.

27 Population Land Tenure, and Natural Resource Management: The Case of
Customary Land Area in Malawi, by Frank Place and Keijiro Otsuka, April
1997.

28 Water Resources Development in Africa: A Review and Synthesis of Issues,
Potentials, and Strategies for the Future, by Mark W. Rosegrant and Nicostrato
D. Perez, September 1997.

29 Financing Agricultural R&D in Rich Countries: What's Happening and Why, by
Julian M. Alston, Philip G. Pardey, and Vincent H. Smith, September 1997.

30 How Fast Have China's Agricultural Production and Productivity Really Been
Growing? by Shenggen Fan, September 1997.

31 Does Land Tenure Insecurity Discourage Tree Planting? Evolution of
Customary Land Tenure and Agroforestry Management in Sumatra, by Keijiro
Otsuka, S. Suyanto, and Thomas P. Tomich, December 1997.

32 Natural Resource Management in the Hillsides ofHonduras: Bioeconomic
Modeling at the Micro- Watershed Level, by Bruno Barbier and Gilles Bergeron,
January 1998.

33 Government Spending, Growth and Poverty: An Analysis oflnterlinkages in
Rural India, by Shenggen Fan, Peter Hazell, and Sukhadeo Thorat, March 1998,
Revised December 1998.

34 Coalitions and the Organization ofMultiple-Stakeholder Action: A Case Study of
Agricultural Research and Extension in Rajasthan, India, by Ruth Alsop, April
1998.

35 Dynamics in the Creation and Depreciation of Knowledge and the Returns to
Research, by Julian Alston, Barbara Craig, and Philip Pardey, July 1998.

36 Educating Agricultural Researchers: A Review of the Role of African
Universities, by Nienke M. Beintema, Philip G. Pardey, and Johannes
Roseboom, August 1998.








37 The Changing Organizational Basis ofAfrican Agricultural Research, by
Johannes Roseboom, Philip G. Pardey, and Nienke M. Beintema, November
1998.

38 Research Returns Redux: A Meta-Analysis of the Returns to Agricultural R&D,
by Julian M. Alston, Michele C. Marra, Philip G. Pardey, and T.J. Wyatt,
November 1998.

39 Technological Change, Technical and Allocative Efficiency in Chinese
Agriculture: The Case of Rice Production in Jiangsu, by Shenggen Fan, January
1999.

40 The Substance ofInteraction: Design and Policy Implications ofNGO-
Government Projects in India, by Ruth Alsop with Ved Arya, January 1999.

41 Strategies for Sustainable Agricultural Development in the East African
Highlands, by John Pender, Frank Place, and Simeon Ehui, April 1999.

42 Cost Aspects of African Agricultural Research, by Philip G. Pardey, Johannes
Roseboom, Nienke M. Beintema, and Connie Chan-Kang, April 1999.

43 Are Returns to Public Investment Lower in Less-favored Rural Areas? An
Empirical Analysis ofIndia, by Shenggen Fan and Peter Hazell, May 1999.

44 Spatial Aspects of the Design and Targeting ofAgricultural Development
Strategies, by Stanley Wood, Kate Sebastian, Freddy Nachtergaele, Daniel
Nielsen, and Aiguo Dai, May 1999.

45 Pathways of Development in the Hillsides ofHonduras: Causes and Implications
for Agricultural Production, Poverty, and Sustainable Resource Use, by John
Pender, Sara J. Scherr, and Guadalupe Dur6n, May 1999.

46 Determinants of Land Use Change: Evidence from a Community Study in
Honduras, by Gilles Bergeron and John Pender, July 1999.

47 Impact on Food Security and Rural Development of Reallocating Water from
Agriculture, by Mark W. Rosegrant and Claudia Ringler, August 1999.

48 Rural Population Growth, Agricultural Change and Natural Resource
Management in Developing Countries: A Review of Hypotheses and Some
Evidence from Honduras, by John Pender, August 1999.








49 Organizational Development and Natural Resource Management: Evidence from
Central Honduras, by John Pender and Sara J. Scherr, November 1999.

50 Estimating Crop-Specific Production Technologies in Chinese Agriculture: A
Generalized Maximum Entropy Approach, by Xiaobo Zhang and Shenggen Fan,
September 1999.

51 Dynamic Implications ofPatentingfor Crop Genetic Resources, by Bonwoo Koo
and Brian D. Wright, October 1999.

52 Costing the Ex Situ Conservation of Genetic Resources: Maize and Wheat at
CIMMYT, by Philip G. Pardey, Bonwoo Koo, Brian D. Wright, M.Eric van
Dusen, Bent Skovmand, and Suketoshi Taba, October 1999.

53 Past and Future Sources of Growth for China, by Shenggen Fan, Xiaobo Zhang,
and Sherman Robinson, October 1999.

54 The Timing of Evaluation of Genebank Accessions and the Effects of
Biotechnology, by Bonwoo Koo and Brian D. Wright, October 1999.

55 New Approaches to Crop Yield Insurance in Developing Countries, by Jerry
Skees, Peter Hazell, and Mario Miranda, November 1999.

56 Impact ofAgricultural Research on Poverty Alleviation: Conceptual Framework
with Illustrations from the Literature, by John Kerr and Shashi Kolavalli,
December 1999.

57 Could Futures Markets Help Growers Better Manage Coffee Price Risks in
Costa Rica? by Peter Hazell, January 2000.

58 Industrialization, Urbanization, and Land Use in China, by Xiaobo Zhang, Tim
Mount and Richard Boisvert, January 2000.

59 Water Rights and Multiple Water Uses: Framework and Application to Kirindi
Oya Irrigation System, Sri Lanka, by Ruth Meinzen-Dick and Margaretha
Bakker, March 2000.

60 Community Natural Resource Management: The Case of Woodlots in Northern
Ethiopia, by Berhanu Gebremedhin, John Pender and Girmay Tesfaye, April
2000.








61 What Affects Organization and Collective Action for Managing Resources?
Evidence from Canal Irrigation Systems in India, by Ruth Meinzen-Dick, K.V.
Raju, and Ashok Gulati, June 2000.

62 The Effects of the U.S. Plant Variety Protection Act on Wheat Genetic
Improvement, by Julian M. Alston and Raymond J. Venner, May 2000.

63 Integrated Economic-Hydrologic Water Modeling at the Basin Scale: The Maipo
River Basin, by M.W. Rosegrant, C. Ringler, D.C. McKinney, X. Cai, A. Keller,
and G. Donoso, May 2000.

64 Irrigation and Water Resources in Latin America and the Caribbean: Challenges
and Strategies, by Claudia Ringler, Mark W. Rosegrant, and Michael S. Paisner,
June 2000.

65 The Role of Trees for Sustainable Management of Less-Favored Lands: The
Case of Eucalyptus in Ethiopia, by Pamela Jagger & John Pender, June 2000.

66 Growth and Poverty in Rural China: The Role of Public Investments, by
Shenggen Fan, Linxiu Zhang, and Xiaobo Zhang, June 2000.

67 Small-Scale Farms in the Western Brazilian Amazon: Can They Benefit from
Carbon Trade? by Chantal Carpentier, Steve Vosti and Julie Witcover,
September 2000.

68 An Evaluation ofDryland Watershed Development Projects in India, by John
Kerr, Ganesh Pangare, Vasudha Lokur Pangare, and P.J. George, October 2000.

69 Consumption Effects of Genetic Modification: What If Consumers Are Right? by
Konstantinos Giannakas and Murray Fulton, December 2000.




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