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Abstract

Previous research studies directed at the influence of information on consumers' preferences and choices of food in the context of genetically modified (GM) food assume that information is exogenous, in that this is provided to consumers from external sources. Information made available to consumers is also typically treated as being received and processed. Other literature and observation suggests that these two features tend not to apply in practice. Using data from a choice experiment on consumers' choices for genetically modified food in which respondents were able to voluntarily access information, this study allows information to be endogenous; consumers' product choices and information access decisions are examined within a simultaneous choice framework. We find that these two types of decisions are related, but not entirely as might be expected from the existing agricultural economics literature since those with more negative attitudes toward GM food were most likely to access information made available. Our results are consistent with research findings in the social psychology literature. There is heterogeneity across consumers in the relationship between information access and consumer choices which may reflect differentiation in attitudes to GM food.

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