Willingness-to-pay in terms of price: an application to organic beef during and after the “mad cow” crisis

This paper aims at assessing consumers’ attitudes and willingness to pay for organic beef, an obvious alternative to regular beef in terms of safety, both immediately and at a longer term after the BSE crisis. It is based on two random telephone surveys in an Italian region, the first one conducted in 2001 (few months after the BSE crisis) and the second one in 2003. The analysis is based on an innovative methodology of contingent valuation, keeping into account the possibility for consumers to decide the quantity of their purchase when a price is proposed. The results show that though the effect of the BSE crisis weakened along with time distance, it left some permanent signs in consumers’ behaviour. The main conclusion is that the demand for organic beef reduced, but that in the meantime it became more inelastic.

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Review of Agricultural and Environmental Studies - Revue d'Etudes en Agriculture et Environnement (RAEStud), Volume 92, Issue 1
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