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Abstract

Adverse publicity about food contamination can depress demand, causing lost producer revenue. TV and print news coverage of bacterial contamination of chicken in the U.S. is incorporated into an inverse demand for chicken which is estimated using 1982 and 1991 data. A beta binomial audience-exposure distribution is used to estimate net reach and average frequency of exposure to contamination publicity. It was found that for each unit of increase in weekly publicity frequency, prices were depressed by 1.2 percent, leading to a $760 million retail loss to the chicken industry. This amounts to less than one-quarter of one percent of revenue over the ten years studied.

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