"A Definition at Last, but What Does It All Mean?"—Newspaper Coverage of the USDA Organic Seal and its Effects on Food Purchases-

This paper estimates the effects of media coverage in organic food production and the National Organic Program (NOP) on food purchases. Information from several independent data sources is complied into a unique data set that directly links national and local newspaper coverage to fluid milk consumption. An analysis of weekly store-level scanner data in a difference-in-differences approach suggests average increases in organic milk sales relative to conventional milk sales of 5 percent during weeks for which relevant news coverage is observed. Increases in intensity of news coverage, measured by the number of articles in a given week, are further found to increase the relative difference in sales but at a decreasing rate. However, these effects are found to dissipate quickly in the weeks following news coverage. Differentiating by context of observed articles suggests that product category specific coverage doubles observed increases in sales when compared to general coverage, while critical national and local coverage does not result in significant changes in organic milk sales. Furthermore, local news coverage seems to have a relatively higher impact than national news coverage, with increases in circulation of one local newspaper resulting in increased organic milk sales as well. Our results provide valuable insights for the evaluation of existing labeling regulations and future regulations on specialty foods in this context.

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Replaced with revised version of paper 07/06/08.
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Selected Paper

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-22

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