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Abstract

The probability that buyers are deceived with regard to the quality or safety of purchased products (moral hazard) increases with the profits which suppliers can earn through opportunistic behaviour. It decreases with the probability and level of losses that result from disclosure of malpractice. It also decreases with protective factors rooted in the suppliers' social contexts - such as values, emotional bonds etc. - that shield them from yielding to economic temptations. This paper describes how a systematic analysis of economic incentives and social context factors can be provided through an interdisciplinary approach which combines the analytical powers of microeconomics (game theory) and criminology (control theories). The approach is discussed with regard to food quality and safety threatened by moral hazard. Its essentials are illustrated through a case study of grain farmers who might be tempted to infringe upon production-related regulations.

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