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Abstract

This study examines the time-varying Japanese price reactions to the 2001 Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) discovery, the 2000 outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD), and the 1996 E. coli food po isoning events. Historical decomposition of retail-level price-series aids in explaining the behavior of beef prices in a neighborhood (period-by-period time interval) of the three events. This is based on an application of directed acyclic graphs, constructing orthogonal innovations to determine causal patterns behind contemporaneous innovations. The results show the beef safety events had different negative impacts on Japanese retail beef prices, suggesting that consumers understood and differentiated among the health risks. The results provide incentives for beef producers and retailers to proactively inform consumers about ongoing beef safety measures. Understanding consumer reaction to BSE, FMD and E. coli helps the beef industry restore consumer confidence after future food safety crises, and provides policy makers a basis for countermeasures and compensations.

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