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Abstract

The goal of this study is twofold: to determine if in the long run health concerns affect, via changes in consumer dietary preferences, the retail demand for beef in the United States and to establish if media coverage of popular diets (media frenzy) causes the change in retail demand for beef, or if it simply reports the facts about the changes in consumer dietary preferences. Data used in the analysis are the quarterly retail demand index for beef and the number of newspaper articles and magazine features on low-fat, low-cholesterol and low-carb diets published in the United States between 1990:I and 2004:IV. Johansen's cointegration method and vector error correction (VEC) model based Granger causality test were used in the long-run and short-run analysis respectively. The results indicate that health concerns are an important demand shifter for beef in the long run. In the short run, media serves as a trigger that will swing people to become followers of a certain diet.

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